NatWest reduces Ottery hours

THE bank that says it is ‘here to help’ is cutting its Ottery opening times to just two days a week from February.

NatWest, in Silver Street, is currently open Monday to Friday, 9am to 4.30pm. But, from Monday, February 21, it will only be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Customers using the branch on Wednesday were dismayed by the news, saying it would be a major inconvenience.

West Hill Road resident Peter Clarke has been using the branch for his charity Sign for Life for two years.

“It’s a nuisance,” he said. “I’m going to have to time my day for their convenience and I thought the idea was that you worked for the convenience of your customers.”

Nina Markham, from Seaton, is a community support assistant for Devon County Council and uses the branch when she does the shopping for an Ottery client.

She said: “I guess I will have to go to Honiton instead.”

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The decision to reduce the hours is a response to falling customer demand. NatWest feels the workload no longer justifies the current opening hours.

A spokesman said: “Reducing the hours will enable us to maintain a branch presence in Ottery rather than considering closure. It will also enable us to deploy more staff at our busier branches in the area.”

The ATM will still be available, offering access to cash and account services outside the new hours, and people can use the Honiton and Seaton branches or the telephone and online banking facilities.

The news comes two months after Nationwide announced its agency network branch, in Jesu Street, will shut on December 31. Around 400 people have signed a petition addressed to the building society’s bosses against the move.

Mayor Glyn Dobson said: “This is a blow for the town, especially after having just lost Nationwide.”