Internet banking blamed for closure of RBS branch

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An increase in internet and mobile phone banking, as well as a fall in customers, has been blamed for the upcoming closure of a Blackpool bank.

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) announced yesterday it is to close its Layton branch on August 5.

RBS said the move comes after the number of bank transactions fell by 20 per cent from 2011, with only 63 people using the branch on a weekly basis – half of which also use other RBS branches in the resort.

It also reflects a huge increase in internet banking nationally, RBS confirmed.

A bank spokesman said it hoped to relocate three staff who work at the Westcliffe Drive-based site to other branches, but Layton Coun Martin Mitchell called the closure a major blow for the high street.

He added: “This is a growing trend.

“I am one of the local people who likes to use a local branch and have face to face contact with staff.

“You sometimes have to use call centres and that is not always easy.

“People talk about internet banking but I know people who have had fraud committed against them using that service.

“The closure will definitely be a loss to the community.”

RBS said it will keep the branch cash machine open for use, while it has come to an agreement with the Post Office on Westcliffe Drive for customers to check their balance, deposit cheques, withdraw cash and get business money.

An RBS spokesman added : “ Our customers are increasingly using alternative ways to bank, such as online and mobile banking.

“As a result, branch transactions have declined by around 36 per cent since 2010, while online and mobile transactions have grown by more than 300 per cent.

“Only nine per cent of their total transactions are now undertaken in branches in comparison to 25 per cent in 2010.

“We are writing to all of our customers who use the branch, as well as displaying posters in branch to let them know of the closure.”

The closest RBS branch to Layton is now the Blackpool Talbot Square bank.