Only bank in Meads to shut

NatWest bank SUS-140514-163039001
NatWest bank SUS-140514-163039001

The only bank in Meads will be closing its doors for good on August 8.

NatWest said it had made the ‘difficult decision’ to pull out of Meads because the branch only had 49 regular customers.

“Over our whole branch network there has been a 30 per cent drop in branch transactions since 2010 as people do their banking when and where it is convenient for them,” said Sarah Binnie, the bank’s media relations manager.

“The number of customers using this branch has dropped by nearly a fifth over the last few years as more and more of them use alternative ways of banking with us.

“This includes by telephone, in Post Offices, by app and online. There are only 49 customers who regularly use the Meads Eastbourne branch, each week.

“Eighty per cent of our customers are within a three-mile radius of a branch and when you include the Post Office network that rises to 90 per cent of our customers being within one mile of a place where they can carry out their everyday banking.

“We’ve advised staff and we’re writing to our customers to make them aware of the closure and the different ways they can bank with us.

“If customers are concerned about how this will impact their banking, they can go into the branch where staff will be happy to discuss the alternative options available.”

NatWest customers in Meads can use the village’s post office to withdraw cash, check balance and pay bills. The nearest ATM is in the Meads Tesco store.

Stephen Lloyd MP said he has written to the CEO of NatWest bank asking for the long-standing Meads branch to remain in service.

He has asked for the changes to be put on hold pending a response to his letter.

He said, “I am disappointed to see that NatWest have made this decision.

“Meads has a bustling local set of shops and this bank is at the heart of the community.

“As soon as I heard the news from a constituent I wrote to the bank asking that this decision be reversed.

“It is also important that any plans in the pipeline get proper community backing, so I have asked that no changes go ahead until I have received a response to my letter and local residents have a chance to give proper considered feedback on the proposals.

“A huge part of Eastbourne’s current success is the many excellent local independent shops and parades, and Meads Street is a tremendous example of this.

“These changes seem to be very short sighted by NatWest and I look forward to hearing their response to my concerns.”