Published: 12:40, 28 August 2014
The Royal Bank of Scotland has announced that it will close two village branches as a result of a significant fall in transactions.
The RBS owned branches of Natwest in Marden and Coxheath, Maidstone, which are the only banks in each village, will close their doors on Tuesday, November 25, and Thursday, November 27, respectively.
RBS cited a 30% fall in physical transactions as the reason for the closures.
County Councillor for Marden, Paulina Stockell, described the decision as “short sighted”.
She said: “Marden is a large and growing village and to lose a rural service is a great shame. If I was a NatWest customer I would be hopping mad.
“They way they are cutting out rural residents is a disgrace.”
Neither bank is linked to the central RBS computer system, with the Marden branch opening for 18 hours a week and the Coxheath branch for 10 hours.
The nearest branch to Marden is 3.1 miles away in Staplehurst and the nearest branch to Coxheath is 3.5 miles away in Sutton Road, Maidstone.
A spokesman for NatWest said: “Over our whole branch network there has been a 30% drop in transactions since 2010 as people do their banking where and when it is convenient for them, whilst online and mobile transactions have grown by over 200%.
“When we close a branch, we take a number of factors into account including usage and alternative ways to bank with us in the local area. We’ve taken a number of measures to ensure that our customers will still have access to banking in the area.”
Adding that the bank will be writing to its customers to make them aware of the closures and the Post Office will now provide free banking services to all NatWest customers.
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