The guidelines, published today, commit banks to a number of actions including contacting customers 12 weeks in advance of a branch closure and informing them of all alternative banking options in their local community. RBS and NatWest already take a number of actions to make sure customers still have access to banking when a branch closes.
Jane Howard, MD Branch and Private Banking, RBS and NatWest said:
"We’re pleased to sign up to the Access to Banking protocol [before the 1 May launch date] as we believe it’s the right thing to do for our customers and fits with our commitment to engage and support the local community when a branch closes. There are a number of actions we already take when we have to make the difficult decision to close a branch; we consider how much the branch is being used and other ways our customers can bank with us in the local area.
Where appropriate we may leave an ATM in place, or introduce a mobile branch – we currently have the biggest mobile branch fleet across the UK. All of our customers have access to 11,500 additional banking points through our relationship with the Post Office."
"To make this a great bank for our customers, it's important to us to earn back their trust. Our branch network will remain the cornerstone of the service we provide to our customers, but the way they are banking today is different. Only 9% of our customers' transactions with us are now carried out in branch vs. a quarter in 2010 and branch transactions have fallen by 36% since 2010 while online and mobile banking transactions have grown by over 300%”.
Key ways we provide access to banking for our customers:
We will continue to have the second largest branch network in the UK.
Our customers can now withdraw and deposit cash, check balances and pay bills at any one of the 11,500 Post Offices across the UK. Our business customers are also able to get coinage.
80% of our customers are within a three mile radius of one of our branches, and when you include the Post Office network that rises to 90% of our customers being within one mile of a place to carry out their every day banking.
We have the largest free to use ATM network in the UK and we’re investing significantly in upgrading and extending our ATM estate. In 2015, we’re replacing over a quarter of our ATM network (1,320 ATMs).
We have 25 Mobile Branches – the largest fleet in the UK.
You can view the guidelines launched today, and the measures RBS and NatWest currently take by clicking here [PDF 73KB].