A MEETING to lobby senior officials from NatWest over the planned closure of the Emsworth branch has been hailed a success.
The company agreed to rethink its decision to close the bank and confirmed its commitment to providing the town with a mobile service twice a week, should it go ahead.
At the meeting, set up by Havant MP Alan Mak, NatWest said it would provide technology training sessions in which residents can get help with online banking.
This comes after the firm announced in December it would close the bank in High Street on June 7.
Mr Mak, who was joined by community leaders, said: ‘NatWest’s decision to close the branch was very disappointing, but it has agreed to think again.
‘In the meantime, I have secured a commitment to keep a presence in the town through a mobile bank, which is a positive step forward.’
As a result of the MP’s work with Havant Borough Council councillors for Emsworth, Lulu Bowerman and Rivka Cresswell, a site for the mobile facility has been secured.
Should it be needed it will sit in the car park of Spice Village, an Indian takeaway, on Tuesdays and Fridays for two hours – increased from half-an-hour as a result of the meeting.
The mobile branch will visit Emsworth today and on Tuesday, May 9, to introduce itself and the services available to customers. NatWest said it will invest in signage to promote the new mobile bank.
Cllr Cresswell said: ‘I will be working alongside my fellow councillors and the Emsworth Business Association to minimise the impact of the bank’s closure.’
As well as the new mobile unit, customers will also be able to use Emsworth Post Office to make transactions. There are three free-to-use ATMs within a mile of the closing branch.
NatWest Local CEO for the Portsmouth area, Sarah Wraith, said: ‘We are aware of how difficult the decision to close this branch was for our customers.
‘After listening to them and understanding their needs we have decided to introduce a mobile branch service to the community and it will be in place from June 2017.’