RBS branch with just 17 customers is shut down

RBS branch with just 17 customers is shut down

As industry experts debate the future of the bank branch, RBS is shutting the doors on one site in Leicester city centre because it has a measly 17 customers.

The Belgrave Gate branch, which employs nine part time staff and is currently open on Mondays and Tuesdays, will shut on Monday, according to the Leicester Mercury.

Bank spokeswoman Debbie Phillips says that the number of transactions at the branch has fallen by 66% since 2011 as customers turn to online and mobile services.

"We have made the decision following careful consideration of a wide range of factors including branch usage and the alternative ways our customers can bank with us locally," says Phillips.

RBS has another branch in the city centre and Andrew Lamie, assistant manager at nearby Tile Giant told the Mercury: "It [The closure] is not really a big deal."

Banks across Europe and North America are slashing their expensive branch networks as customers migrate to digital channels. In June RBS-owned NatWest shut down the very branch used in a TV advert promising it would maintain a high street presence.

Yet a new study from IDC Financial Insights suggests the much-derided bricks and mortar outlet has decades of life in it as the fulcrum of a healthy bank-to-customer relationship strategy, providing valuable face-to-face contact and selling opportunities.

Comments: (5)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 05 August, 2015, 10:09Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

As mentioned previously - the whole - "as customers migrate to digital channels" thing .... IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH CUSTOMERS WISHING TO MIGRATE....

I was recently in a NatWest....5 members of staff - ONE counter position and THREE ATMS....

The ONE counter position was broken (and has been several times) and I kept being directed to use the ATM....I only had to deposit cash...

ONE BIG PROBLEM....I had RBS branded notes.....THEY COULDNT BE READ BY THE RBS/NatWest cash machine right infront of me....besides...there were 5 members of staff milling around, not doing very much....

However, a SINGLE counter position was all that was deemed neccessary for this branch right in the heart of the city of London.

This is all part of the sneaky, ridiculous, over zealous ploy by the banks to MAKE folks choose digital - becuase they really cant do very much in branch any more....IT IS NOT BY CHOICE....


Keith Appleyard
Keith Appleyard - available for hire - Bromley 05 August, 2015, 11:57Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

About once a month I use the RBS branch on Victoria Street near Westminster City Hall to deposit Cheques. There is only 1 teller position, and desks & chairs for 4 other positions, but there is never anyone else there. I always make a point of using the Teller in order to 'log' my footfall.

Brett King
Brett King - Moven - New York 05 August, 2015, 23:05Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes


First - stop shouting.

Second - it is all to do with behavior not correlating with Real Estate economics.

As customers change their behavior and no longer need to go to the branch for things like depositing a check, transfering funds, paying bills, etc then they don't. It's not about a considered migration, it's simply they just don't need to go to the branch. The great myth that people 'love' going to bank branches is quickly becoming exposed as a myth, and thus the economics of expensive branches, with staff who are sitting on their hands all day doing nothing is being exposed.

This is not about CHOICE. This is about the fact that we just don't need branches to do banking like we used to. As that becomes evident, the economics of branches are failing writ large.  

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 06 August, 2015, 12:50Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes


Im shouting just like you do - to make a point....


Im tired of the banks just lying to customers, de-skilling their tellers and removing functions from the branch and making them "head office only".

I recently went in to another banks branch, one who I hold a credit card with.

They cannot deal with me, they can see I have a credit card with them and an out of date 1 week old balance.  However, I was told, although I could use the teller to pay money to the account, it would take 3-5 working days for the money to arrive to the credit card.

If I used my online banking, it would be creditited within 2 hours.

This is the same absolute nonsence....

Why cannot a teller in branch credit money to my credit card (that by the way is not just branded by the bank, but they are both the card issuer and the owner of the card account) in the same time that I can do it online?

The reason, its not just because of rubbish IT systems....it could easily be done(believe me, I work in finance IT).

We do indeed need bank branches, in similar and different ways that we used to - the banks however just view them as a cost centre and cannot be bothered with the cost, both in staff and in premises.

Ever had "the computer says no" scenario where there is nobody to help - and its nothing to do with anything you have done, and there is nobody that can possibly sort it out because there are no humans involved, anywhere ?

This is whats going to happen....and is happening in many circumstances....

Brett King
Brett King - Moven - New York 06 August, 2015, 16:25Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

@Finextra Member

I agree in-branch experience is broken. 50-70% of IT Spending within banks right now is going into compliance, and not fixing customer experience. it's why teller still have to typically navigate 6 different screens and can't get a up-to-date credit card balance without calling the same call centre we call. 

Your (typical) frustration is another reason for migration, especially as next-gen mobile apps and internet banking are easier to use to solve a problem versus an actual person hampered by the bank's own systems and processes