By shaun Lowthorpe Business editor
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Bosses at NatWest have blamed lack of use for plans to close two Norfolk branches.
On February 20, the branch at the University of East Anglia will close its doors while on March the bank is set to close its Station Road branch in Sheringham.
For students the nearest non-city-centre branch will be on Boundary Road, in Norwich, while in Sheringham the next available NatWest premises are in Cromer.
However, the bank, part of the state-owned RBS Group, said that the cash-point facilities will remain available at both sites.
The closures follow similar proposals by NatWest to close its Lancaster University branch and a branch in Staffordshire, and it is not clear what impact it will have on jobs at both branches.
And it comes months after Harleston, near Diss was left reeling by decisions to close both the HSBC and Nationwide branches. A NatWest spokesman said: “Unfortunately, from time to time, we have to take the difficult decision to close a branch which is experiencing low demand.
“We have advised staff and are helping our customers to make alternative arrangements.
“We also have a range of other options that our customers can use to access their accounts.
“These include our NatWest mobile phone applications, online and telephone banking services and the use of any post office to pay bills, withdraw cash and check balances.”
Barry Starling, chairman of the Sheringham Chamber of Trade, said he was worried about the impact the closure would have on the town.
“Barclays is the only major high- street bank left in the town, along with Nationwide and Norwich and Peterborough building societies and the Post Office,” he said.
“The impression it gives is that Sheringham isn’t the business centre it once was.
“It’s a retrograde step, we want to encourage more businesses to come into town. Businesses, both retail and services rely on personal contact. If one major player is removed, that’s one reason for people not to come into the town.”
A UEA spokesman said: “NatWest’s withdrawal from the campus was an internal decision by the bank and the university has been offered no explanation.
“We regret losing a long-standing tenant and have not yet decided how the vacated premises will be used when the lease expires at the end of September.”