NatWest announces closure in Bognor Regis: Sussex World readers have their say

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Sussex World readers had a lot to say about the closure of the NatWest branch in Bognor Regis after it was announced last week.

The Bognor Regis branch is one of several across the UK set to close in September as the national banking chain downsizes its brick and mortar operation, claiming more and more customers are doing their banking online.

Some readers feel this will leave vulnerable residents in the lurch, unable to get the support they need to effectively manage their finances.

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"(They) don’t think about people who don’t have online banking,” said reader Donna Carr. “My mum is 85, she relies on a bank. She does not have a mobile phone or computer or internet.”

NatWest in Bognor Regis: Photo: Google MapsNatWest in Bognor Regis: Photo: Google Maps
NatWest in Bognor Regis: Photo: Google Maps

Another reader, Simone Thompson, said the decision was “Absolutely shocking! My mother in law is 89 and has been with NatWest for over 60 years. She does not do online banking and older people are old school."

Other readers questioned the business sense of the closure, adding that the NatWest branch always seemed to do a healthy trade. “They always appear to have a queue, so how can they say this branch is not needed?" asked Jason Passingham. “This makes three banks leaving the town this year!”

In order to ensure vulnerable customers have the support they need, NatWest has promised to action a number of measures before the branch closes in September.

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"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,” a spokesperson said.

“We take our responsibility seriously to support the people who face challenges in moving online, so we are investing to provide them with support and alternatives that work for them.”

The bank has said it will be calling clients over the weeks to come in order to signpost alternative services and provide bespoke support. Those still in need of face to face support, however, are invited along to an in-person event at the branch later this year.

The announcement of the closure comes some months after similar news about the town’s Barclays branch, which inspired similar complaints from residents concerned that their vulnerable relatives might not get the support they need.

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