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18 Feb 2022

NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland to close 56 branches in 2022

Find out if your local bank branch will be shutting its doors this year
A NatWest branch

Natwest is to close a further 32 branches this year, including 11 Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) sites.

The latest confirmed closures will be on top of the 24 branches already earmarked for closure in 2022.

This means that Natwest will close a total of 56 sites in 2022, 26 of which are RBS branches.

Here, Which? takes a closer look at which NatWest branches are closing, and what it means for the customers who rely on them.

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Find out which NatWest branches are closing

Here are the locations of all NatWest and RBS branches due to close in 2022.

All these have been confirmed on the NatWest and RBS websites, along with information about each closure such as branch usage.

You can use the search bar to see if your local branch is affected.

Why are more branches closing?

In a statement on its website NatWest said that the way people bank had changed 'dramatically' in recent years with an increased demand for mobile and online services.

It added: 'Closing a branch is a decision we take very seriously. We know it can affect people who are less confident with the alternatives we offer, and we'll always work hard to guide you through the changes and find the best way to serve you from now on.'

What is being done to protect access to cash?

This will be the first round of branch closures since new measures were agreed to protect access to cash.

In December, the Cash Action Group (CAG) announced that any community facing the closure of a core cash service, such a bank branch or ATM, will trigger an independent review by LINK - the UK's main ATM operator.

LINK will determine whether a new solution should be provided and will have the power to commission services such as a shared banking hub or better Post Office services to meet the cash needs of the community as a whole - not just the customers of one bank or building society.

According to LINK, of the latest closures confirmed by NatWest, two areas will be left without a branch of any other bank nearby: Headingley in Leeds and Swanley in Kent.

A LINK assessment is currently underway. No additional cash services have been recommended for the other NatWest branch closures.

Alternatives to bank branches

Since January 2020, customers of certain banks have been able to use Post Office branches to withdraw and deposit cash in their accounts and make balance queries. Most banks will also allow you to deposit cheques.

This agreement was renewed earlier this month and will run until 21 December 2025.

There are also initiatives such as cashback without purchase, which allows people to request cashback at the till in local convenience stores, without needing to make a purchase or pay a fee.

However, recent research from Which? found that just one in six shoppers knew about the initiative, and who were aware of it had concerns over privacy and security issues.

How many other bank branches are closing?

Which? has been tracking bank branch closures since 2015.

Banks and building societies have closed (or scheduled the closure of) 4,755 branches since January 2015, at a rate of around 54 a month.

To find out whether your local bank branch is closing or has recently closed, we've created a unique tool to show shutting down branches in your local authority - click here to find out more.

Why legislation is needed to protect access to cash

Which? believes the latest round of closures will leave customers who depend on them for essential services at risk of being cut adrift and has urged the government to push ahead with long promised legislation.

In July 2021, the Treasury launched a consultation on how cash legislation could work, including proposals to make the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) the lead regulator for ensuring that people can continue to withdraw cash locally, which includes powers to hold the banking industry accountable if the further decline of the cash network would put access under threat.

This consultation closed in September, but the findings have not yet been published.

Neena Bhati, Which? Head of Campaigns, said: 'Which? urged banks to prove that they can take effective action to stop customers losing access to cash without adequate alternatives being put in place. This announcement will be the first real test of what difference the industry's Cash Action Group's pledge will make to consumers.

'It's also clear that voluntary industry initiatives alone won't be enough to properly protect cash. The government must urgently press ahead with long-promised legislation to ensure consumers can continue to access cash for as long as it is needed.'

Worried about branch closures? Make your voice heard

If you are worried about the rate of branch closures in your community, you can use our tool to write a letter to the editor of your local paper as part of our latest campaign action.