Angry residents have today blasted a bank for breaking its promise to customers when it decided to close one of its Wyre branches.
The NatWest in Knott End was used in the company’s adverts when it vowed to “continue to provide banking services” where they were the last bank in town.
Four years later, the same branch – the only one left in the village – is set to shut its doors for good in September.
A petition to keep the branch open has attracted hundreds of signatures. A Facebook group has close to 400 members.
Lea Hornby, who works in the village, set up the petition amid fears NatWest’s decision will hit businesses hard.
She said: “It will just close the village down. People will shop elsewhere.
“We have all worked so hard to get the village back to how it used to be and now they have just slapped us with this.”
Coun Vivien Taylor, who represents Wyreside on Lancashire County Council, has written to NatWest’s chief executive to express her disappointment.
She said: “They were happy to come and use Knott End for their advertising. Now they are going to leave us in a vulnerable position.
“We have a lot of elderly residents who do not have access to online banking.”
A NatWest advert from 2011 showed a clip of its Knott End branch while the voice-over said the bank would “continue to provide banking services wherever we’re the last bank in town”.
The company was rapped by the Advertising Standards Authority over the claim, which it said was misleading.
NatWest said a deal with the Post Office means customers will still have access to some banking services. Its Knott End cash machine will also remain once the branch shuts on September 15.
A NatWest spokesman said: “The number of transactions taking place at the Knott End branch has dropped by 21 per cent since 2011. We are working hard to ensure there are a number of alternative ways for people in the area to continue to bank with us.”
Copies of the petition have been left in shops around Knott End. The online petition can be found by searching for “Knott End” (in quotation marks) on www.change.org