Closing date announced Royal Bank of Scotland's Preston Fishergate branch: what it means for customers, when the doors close and where to access RBS banking services

The Royal Bank of Scotland’s Preston Fishergate branch will shut its doors on October 18.
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It’s the latest in a series of bank closures which have hit the city’s main high street in recent years.

Nor is it the only RBS bank in the region to be facing closure. In total 38 RBS banks in England and Scotland, including Southport’s Lord Street branch and banks in Wigan, St Ann Street in Manchester and the Dale Street branch in Liverpool are set to or have already closed.

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The doomed RBS Fishergate branch        Photo: Neil CrossThe doomed RBS Fishergate branch        Photo: Neil Cross
The doomed RBS Fishergate branch Photo: Neil Cross

Why is the branch at 97 Fishergate closing?

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Changing times – the bank says the way local customers bank has altered. Demand for walk-in banking in Preston has plunged. RBS said the branch was used by just nine personal customers on a regular basis and by just 94 regular business customers in 2019.

Between 2017 and 2019 counter transactions by personal customers increased by four per cent. In contrast in 2019 47% of personal customers using the branch also chose to use Digital Banking or the bank’s mobile app. The bank says it used figures from 2019 as this indicated a busier time pre-Covid.

RBS has now written to customers saying: “Closing a branch is a difficult decision and not one that we take lightly. We understand that this branch closure may be challenging for many and we’re working hard to help prepare our customers, and our colleagues, for the closure.”

RBS would not reveal how many staff are affected but said: “some will be mapped to alternative roles.”

What will it mean for customers?

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Accounts will stay with the Royal Bank of Scotland, but customers will be able to use any NatWest branch for banking.

Sort codes, account numbers, standing orders and Direct Debits will remain the same.

Customers can continue to use their debit cards, paying-in books and cheque books. But the branch address on statements and any new cheque books will change. If customers wish to contact the bank by letter customers have been advised to write to 1, Hardman Boulevard, Manchester M3 3AQ.

There will no longer be a Safe Custody service so customers will need to make alternative arrangements for storage of items currently cared for by the bank. RBS says it will be contacting customers shortly to explain what they need to do about Safe Custody items.

How can customers continue banking?

In person customers can:

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Visit any NatWest branch – the nearest to RBS Fishergate is NatWest Preston at 35, Fishergate. NatWest Fulwood is at 292, Garstang Road and NatWest Leyland at 2, Golden Hill Lane, Leyland. Visit a local Post Office to take out cash, check balances and make a desposit. The nearest to RBS Preston Fishergate branch is on Theatre Street (off Fishergate) at Unit 1 Urban Exchange, PR1 8BQ. There are also Post Offices on Meadow Street and Manchester Road. See postoffice.co.uk/branch-finder for details of local Post Offices. Use a local cash machine – the nearest ATM machine is at NatWest Preston at 35, Fishergate with other free to use cashpoints at Santander, 102 Fishergate and Barclays at 38 Fishergate. Business customers are advised to use any NatWest or RBS branch and check out automated pay-in facilties.They should also check if they are eligible for the bank’s courier service. More information is available at rbs.co.uk/ways-to-bank.

How can customers find out more about the change?

An RBS spokesperson told the Post: “As with many industries, most of our customers are shifting to mobile and online banking, because it’s faster and easier for people to manage their financial lives. We understand and recognise that digital solutions aren’t right for everyone or every situation, and that when we close branches we have to make sure that no one is left behind."

RBS says staff at the Preston Fishergate staff will answer any questions from customers. The Bank has dedicated Customer Support Specialists to help anyone who needs more support and they can be contacted on 0131 380 6528.There is also a dedicated support line for customers over 60 which is open 8am to 8pm seven days a week on 0800 051 4177, which the bank says has “shorter waiting times” to get a reply. See rbs.co.uk/branchclosures