Shopkeepers stunned by plans to close Natwest in Archway
- Credit: Archant
Archway businesses have been left in a “ridiculous situation” after one of the last two remaining banks on the high street announced it will close in February.
NatWest wrote to customers last week announcing the branch’s planned closure, although it insists the cash machines will remain in use.
Islington Council is now launching a petition to save the bank, the fourth to close in Archway in the past eight years.
The only remaining bank will now be TSB.
Cllr Janet Burgess, executive member for health and wellbeing, said: “We are starting a petition today. The leader of the council has already written to the chief executive of RBS asking him to rethink the decision.
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“It seems a really retrograde step as we’re investing £2million into Archway and a Premier Inn is coming too – there’s going to be lots more people here.”
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Hak Huseyin, a partner at Absolute Print, said the decision meant businesses would no longer be able to get change, bank cheques, and ask questions easily.
“We’ve been here 18 years banking with NatWest and most Archway businesses bank with them, but there’s been no consultation.
“Yet every time you turn on the TV they’re talking about longer opening hours and how they’re listening to their customers.
“But they’re not listening to us.”
Mr Huseyin, who is vice-chairman of Archway Town Centre Management Group (ATCMG) which represents more than 200 businesses, added that he and other owners were considering approaching TSB to see whether they could negotiate a better deal. “Our nearest NatWest will be Holloway but I went there recently and the queues were massive and that’s without all the Archway accounts,” he said.
A spokesman for NatWest said the closures come as a result of more people doing their banking online, resulting in 30 per cent fewer customers going to the branch than a few years ago.
“We’ve seen the number of people using the branch fall significantly over the last few years and we’ve made the difficult decision to close the Archway branch on February 26, 2014.
“We are advising staff and writing to customers.”
The nearest NatWest branches are a mile away at Holloway Road and 1.3 miles away at Crouch End.