NatWest manager ‘tried to save Petworth’s last bank’

Stephanie Dickinson, CEO of South Downs NatWest branches, and a NatWest colleague responded to questions from residents at the meeting on January 10.
Stephanie Dickinson, CEO of South Downs NatWest branches, and a NatWest colleague responded to questions from residents at the meeting on January 10.
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NatWest’s South Downs CEO has said she ‘tried hard’ to save Petworth’s last bank, due to close in June, but she lacked support.

The comments came as part of a parish council meeting in Billingshurst which saw questions from residents asking why banks could not have collaborated to keep a presence in the village, also set to lose its last bank branch.

A representative for NatWest said there were rules on branded banks operating in the same premises and South Downs CEO Stephanie Dickinson said services for other banks had not supported the business.

She said: “I looked after Petworth branch and, as you know, Petworth became the last branch in town.

“I went round to all the businesses and we had various meetings in the town itself to try and get customers to come over to NatWest because if we’re going to stay in a town, we have to be supported.

“But all that happened was we started to do credit facilities for other banks and we are a business at the end of the day. And I can honestly say, we tried so hard to make that work and it didn’t work.

“Yes, we were the last branch in town in that small place which is just up the road from here but it was quiet, incredibly quiet.”

She said the Post Office would be able to take cash and cheque deposits, although a Post Office spokesman added that paying-in envelopes and other paperwork was necessary.

He advised residents to check with their bank as to what they needed to avoid problems with payments.

The Billingshurst branch closure will also mean the loss of the NatWest ATM, although it is not yet confirmed what will happen to one in Petworth.

Residents were also told the mobile banking unit was not wheelchair accessible but an adviser could meet clients outside.

Petworth’s NatWest is due to close on June 19, one of 197 NatWest UK closures.