Dismay at village bank closure

BANK BRANCH CLOSURE: Great Ayton in North Yorkshire

BANK BRANCH CLOSURE: Great Ayton in North Yorkshire

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A BANK branch in a North Yorkshire village is due to close because it is not used enough by residents.

The NatWest says it has taken the decision to close its Great Ayton branch on December 2 because the number of transactions taking place in the Great Ayton branch had dropped by 13 per cent over the last few years. It says the branch, which is open for 14 hours a week in the village, only has 40 customers who use it regularly.

The next nearest branch is just over three miles away in Stokesley.

But deputy chair of Great Ayton Parish Council, Councillor Simon Jackson, said there was often a queue at the bank when it was open.

He said he was not aware of any consultation in the village over the move and it was the first the council had heard about the closure.

“I know there are going to be a lot of disappointed people who always kept with the NatWest because of the possibility of going into the branch,” he said.

A spokeswoman for NatWest said overall its banking network had experienced a 30 per cent drop in transactions at branches since 2010 as people move to banking online, over the phone, through its upgraded ATM network and mobile transactions.

But she said in Great Ayton they had come to an agreement with the local Post Office, to ensure customers who wanted to, could still withdraw cash, pay in money and check balances free of charge at the village Post Office.

She said: “When we close a branch, we take a number of factors into account including usage and alternative ways to bank with us in the local area. We've taken a number of measures to ensure that our customers will still have access to banking in the area.

“We do understand that some of our customers do not use the internet or mobile phone app and prefer to be served over-the-counter. As a result we have come to an agreement with the local Post Office, which is close to both branches, so that customers can withdraw cash, pay in money and check balances free of charge. In the coming months businesses will be able to get coinage.”

She said they will also lift basic bank account ATM restrictions for Great Ayton branch customers, so they can use all other ATMs.

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