Town centres rue latest RBS closures
A raft of Royal Bank of Scotland branch closures across the Fylde coast have been met with fresh dismay.
Counters in Fleetwood, Poulton, Kirkham and Blackpool’s Talbot Square are the latest to be axed by the bank, which is still 62 per owned by tax payers. They will all close in January.
Union leaders branded the closures “disgusting”.
Although customers can access the same services in Natwest branches, which are also run by the RBS Group, many of those have also closed, leaving customers with longer journeys to their next nearest branch.
The closures will leave Fleetwood with just two banks,: The Halifax, and Santander.
Bob Boal (inset), who was manager of the town’s former Woolworths store and is a member of the campaign group Fleetwood Community Trust said: “This is bad news for Fleetwood. There are still a lot of people in this town who like to do their banking over the counter.
“RBS customers who are not with the NatWest will now have to travel to Blackpool and, for older people, that’s not what they want. The Cleveleys RBS branch has already shut. A lot of people are not comfortable with online banking and worry about hackers.
“This will do nothing for our town centre and makes you wonder if they will soon be any bank branches left.”
He added: “It was the banks that caused the financial problems in the first place, and taxpayers bailed them out, but as usual it is the customers who suffer.”
In Poulton, Jane Fort, who works at the florist Flower Barrow in Ball Street, is a customer at the town’s RBS branch but did not know of the closure until she saw it reported in The Gazette yesterday.
She said: “It’s a big inconvenience, because having a counter where you can be served by staff is really handy, especially when you’re in business.
“And if anything happens to your credit card you can nip over and get help and advice.
“It’s yet another blow to the high street here in Poulton, which is really struggling as it is.”
RBS said the closures – 54 in total – were because it has branches in close proximity to each other and it is seeking to reduce overlap.