Charity volunteers and vulnerable customers are to be left struggling after their much-needed bank is to close this September. Clients of NatWest in Port Sunlight have been told that their branch will close.
Labour’s new councillor for Bromborough, Cllr Sue Percy, has been working with residents and community groups to ask the bank to reconsider, or to mitigate the worst of the impact.
She says, “Residents are understandably concerned. Many feel they will be more isolated when the bank closes, and those who are struggling with mobility face additional barriers.
“Others like to draw out cash to manage their budgets, which is particularly vital during the current cost of living crisis. Some residents have no access to online digital banking and are worried they wont be able to learn how to use it, or do not have the equipment they would need to access it.
“Also, we have many brilliant charity groups fundraising in the area, and they are extremely concerned about carrying cash from their events here to the nearest NatWest, which will be in Birkenhead. This means the volunteers will have to travel with significant amounts of cash, which presents security concerns and is much more time-consuming and costly in terms of travel and parking.”
Communities throughout the area are being left without any major bank presence, and traders are concerned that they will lose a large percentage of trade as people have no access to a local bank or a free cash machine.
Port Sunlight is a tourist area and people are always looking to spend and need access to banks, especially now the village is applying for World Heritage status.
Together with Wirral South Labour MP Alison McGovern, Cllr Percy met with reps of NatWest to raise these issues.
Cllr Percy says, “We brought to their attention the damaging effect of the community losing their only bank and the only local cash machine that is free to use.
“They have agreed that Post Office services will now offer deposit and withdrawal processes for customers of NatWest, but this service is not suitable for charities that must have two signatures on the account as a debit card only allows one signature.
“There are also many other issues for people who are not able or comfortable with internet banking.”
Cllr Percy is urging NatWest to reconsider, and has set up a petition where others can voice their concerns