Residents of Bakewell, a town in the Peak District, have been left frustrated and ready for a “massive impact” as the area saw its final bank branch closed.
NatWest is set to close its Bakewell bank branch in Derbyshire on February 22.
GB News reporter Adam Cherry visited the town to gauge the feeling among local residents as they ready themselves for a significant hindrance in their ability to deal with their bank accounts in person.
Derbyshire Dales MP Sarah Dines branded the matter a “debanking scandal” as she urged NatWest to reconsider.
Sarah Dines is furious at the bank branch closure
“My post box is full of letters, hard copies and emails from elderly people and business people who are heartbroken”, she told GB News.
“It is a debanking scandal. What is worse is the freedom of the individual. We feel that individuals, elderly people in particular, are being forced online.
“With the Horizon scandal, it’s just not good enough for our vulnerable people.”
The bank has pointed to dwindling numbers of people visiting their local bank branch, with the Bakewell branch allegedly only serving six customers on a regular basis.
This did not stop local residents from voicing their frustrations, with one claiming the move will have a “massive impact” on the community.
“People don’t just come to the bank, they go into coffee shops for coffee, they’ll come and do their weekly shops”, she added.
A Bakewell local business owner is not best pleased by the closure
Over a quarter of Derbyshire Dales residents are 65 or older
“There’s a massive impact on the town itself.”
A local business owner added that for many locals, “cash is still king”.
“Since the cost of living crisis, people have been using more cash because they just draw so much out and they know exactly what they spent on the day”, he said.
“It tends to affect my business quite a lot and not just mine, the businesses all around me also.”
NatWest has justified the move by arguing most of its customers are shifting to online banking.
They added face-to-face support is available through its partnership with the Post Office.
Rishi Sunak addressed concerns raised by Dines in Parliament, confirming in December that a new cash deposit machine would be installed in the area.
A NatWest spokesman told GB News: “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 every situation and when we close branches, nobody is left behind.”