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The Royal Bank of Scotland will close NatWest branches in Lenham, Snodland and Wye, following falling transactions

By Ed McConnell

The Royal Bank of Scotland has taken the decision to shut down three branches just a week after it announced the closure of its Marden and Coxheath banks.

The branches of NatWest in Snodland, Lenham and Wye, which are the only banks in each area, will close early next year resulting in 14 job losses.

A drop in physical transactions has once again been cited as the reason.

Queuing customers outside NatWest Bank in Snodland which will close in January

The banks in High Street, Snodland, which employs four people, and The Square, Lenham, which has seven staff, will close on January 6, while the Church Street branch in Wye near Ashford will close on January 9.

Chairman of Snodland Town Council, Cllr Anne Maloney, described the changes as “short-sighted” sighting the building of 1,400 houses in the area in the past ten years.

She said: “It is unacceptable for an area that is growing at this level to be left without a service like this. Many people who do not drive or are elderly will have difficulty getting to Larkfield, we already have people coming from that branch to the one in High Street as it is far more user-friendly. This decision is totally short-sighted.”

Residents of Snodland campaigned against a proposed reduction in opening hours last May and suggested that the bank should instead become digitalised at a meeting with NatWest representatives.

Susan Roan, Cllr Dave Keeley, Cllr Anne Moloney, Cllr Barbara Brown and Coral Thomas campaigned against reduced opening hours last May

The NatWest branches in Marden and Coxheath, which are the villages’ only banks, are set to close in November.

The NatWest branch in Marden will close in 11 days

A NatWest spokesman confirmed that no further closures are planned for Kent.

She said: “Over our whole branch network there has been a 30% drop in branch 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%.”

RBS have confirmed that the cash machine in Snodland will remain in place and that customers can access services at post offices.

Residents in Lenham will have to travel 6.4miles to the closest branch in Headcorn, while residents in Snodland will have to travel 2.2miles to Larkfield and people in Wye will have to make the 3.5mile journey to Ashford.

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