ONE of an island’s only two remaining banks will close its doors for the last time next week – despite an MP’s intervention and public opposition.
Havant MP Alan Mak had hoped to win the NatWest branch, in Mengham, Hayling Island, a last-minute reprieve following a meeting organised between the bank and Islanders.
NatWest promised to keep contributing to the communityHavant MP Alan Mak
Councillors, community leaders, traders, residents and representatives from NatWest got together to discuss the closure last week.
But NatWest has announced it will push ahead with the closure on November 10.
Mr Mak said: ‘NatWest’s decision to close their Mengham branch is very disappointing.
‘Over many months I’ve worked hard with Islanders to see if NatWest would reverse their commercial decision.
‘I’ve lobbied NatWest’s chief executive, raised the issue in Parliament and organised a meeting with NatWest for community representatives to make their views known.
‘NatWest promised to keep contributing to the community even if the branch closes, so let’s hope they keep their word.’
The bank has struck a deal with Hayling’s Post Office.
NatWest customers will be able to check their balance plus deposit and withdraw funds at the branch.
Business customers will also be able to get coins there.
The next nearest branch of NatWest is in Havant.
NatWest said the reason for the closure was that the number of transactions taking place at the Hayling branch had dropped by 21 per cent since 2011.
Other banks have been closing around the area despite promises not to pull out of smaller high streets.
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has also been campaigning against the closures.
A NatWest spokeswoman said: ‘We’ve considered the issues raised at the meeting but it remains our intention to close the branch.
‘We are committed to following the UK government protocol on branch closures, and we have made the decision following consideration of a range of factors including branch usage and the alternative ways our customers can bank with us locally.
‘Our customers are increasingly using alternative ways to bank with us 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.
‘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.’