NatWest closure: This is the problem

Wansteadium reader Jeffrey puts the case against the closure of Wanstead’s last remaining bank pretty succinctly:

I was angry when NatWest decided to close their branch in South Woodford which was very convenient for me and my family. I accepted that I would have to travel to Wanstead mainly for cash withdrawals and such like. With the impending closure of Wanstead branch please tell me what kind of service you’re providing for your loyal customers these days. Not everyone is techno savvy. How do we get cash and or coins out (we still use cash where I live)! Both branches were always busy on my frequent visits. NatWest – be ashamed of yourselves.

Meanwhile the bank is explaining to customers a range of options for their future banking. They include the same things all the other banks have relied on – going to the nearest branch (Walthamstow), using the Post Office, using mobile or phone banking and, hilariously, using Video Banking. It says:

“Chat to us face to face from the comfort of your home, at at time that suits you.”

That will go down well with fans of Back to the Future II. For older customers constantly warned of the risks of scammers and hoaxes, one suspects it will be less of a draw.

And a final thought – a word of thanks to the loyal and patient staff at the branch who have given years of service to the community.

10 thoughts on “NatWest closure: This is the problem”

  1. I agree and don’t want to use an app on my phone for banking, Not only that what will they do with all the loyal staff, probably make them redundant.

  2. They reduced hours to drive down custom. It provides a vital community service and they should think in those terms and customer experience. I’m able to use the full suite of online provision and the post office but many can’t.

  3. The unfortunate reality is that many services have moved online and a large percentage of the population have embraced it. High st presence is now a luxury that due to a dwindling need, many businesses are not finding it cost effective with many, such as banks, losing money on. There will be many that find the shift difficult, but they are a business and this is a business decision. The alternative is that the state steps in and forces certain business to act in a loss making way to support parts of society but that changes fundamentally how businesses can and will operate in the UK. They have a strong regulatory framework to protect us as depositors, but that does not stretch to how easy it is to visit a branch.

    The best solution I can think of is commercially pressuring banks to commit to banking hubs where a number of banks join and maintain local hubs – eg the single hub will operate for HSBC, Nat West, Barclays etc thus sharing the costs.

    But failing that, it is a business, this is a commercial decision, and you have the option of going elsewhere if you don’t like the service. The fact that nowhere else is doing it either is not their problem.

  4. As mentioned before. They will save 10.5 million closing 35 branches. That is 0.2% of their total profit.

    Here are their biggest shareholders

    UK HM Government 41%
    Norges Bank Investment Management 3.5%
    The Vanguard Group, Inc. 2%
    BlackRock Investment Management (UK) Ltd.1.5%
    Massachusetts Financial Services Co. 1.5%

  5. It’s a real kick in the teeth to people who have regularly used the branch.Loyalty really does not count . Sadly the majority of people have decided they do not need to use it . I witnessed a customer trying to use the cash machine inside . He was being assisted but was left at the point when his cash was issued by the machine . He took too long to take it and the machine took it back .Leaving him cashless and bewildered. He was then helped at the counter. . Very upsetting to witness

  6. Woolwich – gone now BHF, HSBC – gone now Superdrug, Barclays – gone now Gail’s, Santander – gone now Estate Agent, Nationwide – gone now coffee shop.

  7. In South Woodford there’s just a Nationwide and a Barclays, and the latter I believe closes at 2pm. One of my wife’s client as a side issue, who’s 103 had to go there with her carer, to get some money out but the cash point wasn’t working, but they’d closed the counter and couldn’t serve her, then to add a further insult, they’d closed the disabled entrance so she had to use the main entrance. She wasn’t happy and told the bank she’d been with them for over 50 years.
    That story sums up banks in general, they have no interest in local communities. I have an account with NatWest, and on Thursday I had to do an online to sort something, it’s not great and I’m still waiting for them to sort the issue out. They don’t seem to realise they’re there to serve the public, and that not everyone are mobile or computer savvy.
    On the flip side, I was in Kensington High Street on Thursday and you throw a stone with hitting a bank!!!

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