NatWest goes back to the branch

NatWest goes back to the branch

The UK's NatWest Bank is to open a new London outlet as part of a £150 million, five-year branch refurbishment programme.

NatWest will open its second new branch in under a year tomorrow at Bethnal Green, London, returning to a site that was shuttered during the bank's extensive branch closure programme in the 1990s.

Following the take over of NatWest by Royal bank of Scotland in March 2000, branch closures were halted and investment was made in branches with extra staff and new technology. Most recently, NatWest has once again made it possible for customers to telephone their branch directly.

The Bethnal Green branch will open in the style of the new refreshed look and feel that is currently being introduced to every one of the bank's 1643 existing branches. As part of this five year, £150 million programme, which will see a complete upgrade to the customer banking areas, work will be carried out to improve access for all customers, cut waiting times and provide more private interview space.

Benny Higgins, chief executive of NatWest Retail Banking, says that reinvestment in the branch network is part of a long-term policy to transform NatWest into a more "customer friendly" bank.

He says: "At a time when others are preaching the virtues of branchless banking, our customers are telling us that they value their local NatWest."

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