Bank announces shock closure of 14 branches

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A raft of local Natwest branches are set to close after a shock announcement from the bank.

Bamber Bridge, Longridge, Carnforth and Kirkham are just four of 14 closing across the county in June 2017, leaving some residents with miles to travel to reach their nearest branch.

It comes as Natwest announces a host of closures across the country with the bank stating an increase in mobile and online users and a decline in branch users as the reason behind the “difficult decision”.

A Natwest spokesman said it was contacting it’s “vulnerable and regular customers” and admitted many customers weren’t confident with online and mobile banking.

Digital experts are set to be stationed at closing branches to support users with digital banking.

But councillors have criticised the decision, including County Councillor for Longridge with Bowland David Smith.

The town loses its branch on June 19 and Mr Smith said: “So many will be disadvantaged by this closure, and the hardest hit will be the large section of the population who cannot bank on line, often the most vulnerable members of the community, who rely on face to face banking.”

The number of transactions in the town’s branch fell by 23 per cent between 2010 and 2015 with 56 per cent of Longridge’s Natwest bankers going online.

Longridge’s nearest branch is now more than six miles away in Fulwood.

Mr Smith said: “To close a essential service is a slap in the face for the economic development of rural communities.”