Builth bank closes next week… leaving NatWest customers with 32-mile round trip to nearest branch

Reporter:

Keri Trigg

NatWest customers in Builth Wells will face 32-mile round trips to Brecon from next week as the town’s branch shuts its doors for the last time.

The bank announced the closure in March citing the rise of electronic banking as the reason behind the decision.

A spokesperson said at the time: “The way people choose to bank with us has changed radically over the last few years.

“Between 2010 and 2015, mobile and online transactions have increased by over 400 per cent and mobile transactions alone have increased by 1,350 per cent.

“Since 2011 we have seen the number of transactions in the Builth Wells branch decline by 39 per cent.

“These customers are actively choosing to bank in different ways, with 50 per cent of customers in our Builth Wells branch choosing to use our digital banking options.”

Pleas from local customers, politicians and councillors fell on deaf ears, and NatWest plans to press ahead with the closure on Tuesday, October 10.

In an update issued in July, the bank said: “We met with local MP Chris Davies and Kirsty Williams AM to discuss our customers’ concerns.

“The branch team has spoken to customers to explain more about our alternative banking services in the local area, and have helped customers to set up online banking/encouraged them to visit our nearest branches.

“NatWest Builth Wells will close as planned on October 10.”

This will leave two banks in the town – Barclays, open four days, and Santander, open two days and one morning.

Builth Wells County Councillor Jeremy Pugh said: "It is another town tragedy.

"All decisions that are made are made in urban areas not rural areas.

"The banks saying it's not feasible to stay open are idiots. There is a huge amount of services that could be delivered but they choose not to."

Up until its closure, NatWest was open for just eight hours a week, from 10.30am to 2.30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The Builth Wells branch was among four in Powys closing down this year, alongside Hay-on-Wye, Welshpool and Machynlleth.

Email:

keri.trigg@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the County Times

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