BANKING giant NatWest has closed one of its branches in Colchester.

The Colchester Business Park branch closed its doors for the final time last week.

NatWest says it considers various factors when deciding to close a branch – including the likely impact on its customers, their banking preferences, and the proximity of the branch to a post office.

A report published by the bank revealed counter transactions for personal customers at the branch had fallen by 63 per cent in four years, with just one personal customer using the branch on a regular basis and eight in ten customers also choosing to bank online.

Gazette: Branch - NatWest in The CrescentBranch - NatWest in The Crescent (Image: Google)

Businesses accounted for the lion’s share of activity at the branch in The Crescent, with 209 business customers using it on a regular basis last year.

More than 190 people contacted NatWest with queries about the branch closure, though the bank says no complaints were recorded.

The report says: “The feedback we received from customers, community members and organisations was welcomed.”

Several Colchester residents were disappointed by the bank's decision to close the Colchester Business Park branch, including Mark Wiles who admitted he has switched his banking elsewhere.

Stephen Wealls said: "No matter when you went into that branch, there was always a queue and  it had plenty of customers."

Clare Scarf, who lives in Tiptree where there are no banks, added: "Witham was closest for NatWest but that shut down. What are people meant to do if they actually need to go into a branch?"

NatWest still has a presence in the city with its High Street branch opening six days a week, though there is no counter service on Saturdays, and customers can complete some transactions at a Post Office counter.

The bank previously closed its branch in London Road, Lexden.

Earlier this year, a survey revealed a third of people in the UK would rather do all their banking in person, despite a swathe of new branch closures from high-street lenders who say in-person services are not being used.

Figures from the Post Office show people are increasingly utilising their local post office to manage their money as a result of banks shutting branches.