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Lancaster University’s campus branch of NatWest Bank is scheduled for closure from Monday 25th March, 2013.
Students were informed last week that the decision had been taken by the Royal Bank of Scotland in response to the ‘falling numbers of customers’ who make use of the facility. The closure comes after the recent opening of a Santander branch in Alexandra Square.
NatWest has seen sustained popularity over many years for its student account, which offers a flexible overdraft and before 2012 offered a free railcard to students. Once considered to be the best for student accounts, a student website ranked NatWest as the fourth best offer, being beaten by the likes of Santander and the Co-Operative bank.
Official letters from NatWest sent out to customers stated that the ‘decision to close the branch hasn’t been an easy one’, but it was felt that the time was right, as customers are ‘increasingly finding different ways to do their banking’ and are choosing not to visit the branch. NatWest also indicated that the number of customers using the branch had drastically decreased over the last five years. However, customers were encouraged to try alternate methods of banking in order to lessen the impact of the closure, such as telephone, mobile or online-banking. Customers may also use the nearest branch in the city-centre, on Church Street, if they prefer to bank in person.
Laura Mitchell, of the University’s Press Office, stated via email that the University will be holding a meeting with the bank to discuss ‘practical arrangements for University banking in light of the closure’, suggesting that a new bank may be introduced into Alexandra Square. Currently, there is no further comment from the Press Office as to what they plan to do with the space that will be opened up in the Square once the branch has closed.