Royal Bank of Scotland to close 259 RBS and NatWest branches across the UK - including outlets in Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk

The Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters. Picture: DAVID CHESKIN/PA WIRE

The Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters. Picture: DAVID CHESKIN/PA WIRE - Credit: PA

The Royal Bank of Scotland is closing hundreds of RBS and NatWest branches across the UK - including a number in Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk.

The banking giant is culling a total of 259 outlets - 197 NatWest and 62 RBS branches - as a result of the growing number of people using internet or mobile banking.

Natwest branches in Beccles, Diss, Thetford, Saffron Walden and Witham are among those set for closure in May and June next year.

To explain its decision to close the banks, RBS Group has released figures showing the decline in customer numbers.

In Beccles, transactions at the town’s NatWest branch have reduced by 26% in the last five years with just 67 customers visiting on a weekly basis.

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In Diss, there has been a 33% drop with just 56 customers visiting the branch every week.

Thetford’s branch saw a 39% decrease in custom, with 54 people using the service for their banking while transactions at the NatWest branch at Witham in Essex have dipped by 39% since 2012 with only 68 customers visiting the branch every week.

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Beccles mayor Richard Stubbings said: “It is a disappointment, especially as the town is growing. “It all seems a reverse against all common sense to close a bank branch in Beccles.

“We are fortunate to be a vibrant market down so this seems like a step backwards.”

Witham’s MP Priti Patel has expressed her concerns on the closures.

She said: “The closure of NatWest and loss of another banking branch will be felt by businesses and residents in the town and surrounding villages.

“While I appreciate that usage has fallen and people are making more use of online banking services, many people and businesses still need face-to-face advice in branch.

“Customers looking for advice on financial products in particular will be hit hard by this loss and I will be in contact with NatWest about this decision.”

Mayor of Witham JoAnn Williams, added: “It feels like the end of a generation.

“We have a larger elderly population with five or six care home in Witham.

“I am not really young myself but have been using internet banking for years.

“But there are so many people I know who it is going to devastate.

“They want the face-to face transaction, to be able to hand over their money and know it is in the bank.”

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