The NatWest Bank is to close two of its branches in Brighton and Hove, it was announced today (Friday 1 December).
They are the London Road branch in Brighton and the Portslade and West Hove branch on the corner of New Church Road and Boundary Road, Hove.
The two branches are among 259 to be shut by NatWest’s parent company RBS (the Royal Bank of Scotland), leaving a network of 744 remaining branches across the country.
The state-owned bank blamed the decision on the growing number of people who choose to do their banking online.
RBS said: “More and more of our customers are choosing to do their everyday banking online or on mobile.
“Since 2014 the number of customers using our branches across the UK has fallen by 40 per cent and mobile transactions have increased by 73 per cent over the same period.
“Over five million customers now use our mobile banking app and one in five only bank with us digitally.
“We’re providing our customers with more ways to bank than ever before – they can choose from a range of digital to face-to-face options.
“As customers continue to change the way they bank with us, we must change the way we serve them.
“So we are investing in our more popular branches and shaping our network, replacing traditional bricks and mortar branches with alternative ways to bank, including community bankers, mobile bank on wheels and post offices so that we can reach even more customers.
“We expect these branch closures to result in around 680 redundancies.
“We realise this is difficult news for our colleagues and we are doing everything we can to support those affected.
“We will ensure compulsory redundancies are kept to an absolute minimum.
“We are committed to ensuring our customers and communities are able to continue accessing quality banking services.
“We are writing to customers of affected branches to highlight the alternative ways to bank in their area.
“Our new ‘community banker’ provides customers with personal assistance and support to access our non-cash services as well as help with achieving their financial plans and goals – replicating many of the services available in our branches.
“Our community bankers will get to know local communities, engage with local groups and provide training and education on issues such as fraud and scams protection in their local area.
“We know that not all of our customers are comfortable or familiar with using online or mobile banking so we have created a new specialist taskforce of ‘techxperts’ who will be dedicated to supporting our customers with training and support with digital skills.
“There will be 103 community bankers in post across the UK by the end of March 2018, serving around 250 communities.
“There is already at least one ‘techxpert’ in every branch across the UK.
“We have listened closely to feedback from local communities and have extended the time between announcing our decision and the branch closure to six months.
“This has been done in order to ensure our customers have time to consider the right banking options for them.
“Customers will also have a range of alternative ways to bank, including online and mobile for simple transactions, telephony and webchat for assisted help and the post office for face to face interactions.”