Pensioner ‘held back tears’ as she didn’t know how to get money after bank branch closure

Pensioner ‘held back tears’ as she didn’t know how to get money after bank branch closure

Sarah Dines MP campaigns against Bakewell bank branch closure

Jessica Sheldon

By Jessica Sheldon

Published: 28/02/2024

- 16:33

Updated: 28/02/2024

- 16:49

NatWest closed its Bakewell branch last week, leaving the Peak District with no bank branches

A pensioner was left "holding back tears" as she explained to bank branch staff she had no idea how she would access her money after it closed.

Sarah Dines, the Conservative MP for Derbyshire Dales, slammed NatWest for closing the branch, which has meant the Peak District no longer has a bank branch.

Writing exclusively for GB News, Ms Dines said: "I cannot help but think of my elderly constituent who in the last week of the Bakewell bank being open asked the cashiers to give her four weeks of her pension, holding back tears she explained that she did not know how to get money beyond that point.

"That lady deserves better.

NatWest Bakewell bank branch sign and branch has closed sign

NatWest announced last November that it would close the Bakewell branch


"She is of that generation that gave so much to our country and is now being increasingly marginalised.

"I am passionate about making sure residents have a choice when it comes to accessing services and the default should not just be digital."

NatWest announced last November that it would close the Bakewell branch, blaming a fall in branch visits amid a rise in the use of online and mobile banking.

NatWest said their Customer Support Specialists would be making proactive telephone calls to customers over the coming weeks, providing support and advice to customers who may need additional support.

They also promised a face-to-face event in the branch before it closed, as well as ongoing support with their digital services.

Bakewell residents’ local bank branch is now 12.37 miles away in Chesterfield. In its closure notice, the bank signposted its telephone banking, video banking and online banking services, as well as the mobile banking app.

The bank said the branch was used by six personal customers and 181 business customers on a regular basis in 2022.

Ms Dines told GB News that when she first queried this statistic, she was told that a regular customer was "someone who used the bank every week for 52 weeks a year".

She said this was later changed and "defined as a customer that uses the branch at least once a week for a period of six months".

The MP branded the definition as "ridiculous".

She said: "In real terms what this means is that if a business or elderly resident withdrawing their pension uses the bank every week, apart from one week in a six-month period, when they may have been on holiday or away on business or ill, they are not classed as a regular customer."

A spokesperson for NatWest previously said: “As with many industries, most of our customers are shifting to mobile and online banking because it’s faster and easier for people to manage their financial lives.

“We understand and recognise that digital solutions aren’t right for everyone or every situation, and that when we close branches we have to make sure that no one is left behind.

“We take our responsibility seriously to support the people who face challenges in moving online, so we are investing to provide them with support and alternatives that work for them.”

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