THE Royal Bank of Scotland branch in St Helens town centre will close its doors next year as the ease of mobile banking has resulted in fewer people coming into the bank.

With fewer customers entering their bank branches, RBS has followed other national banks in shutting down their less frequented stores across the country.

The Ormskirk Street bank avoided the axe back in 2018 when 162 branches were closed in England and Wales, yet they are now part of plans to close 29 stores from March 2022 which puts many jobs at risk.

Described as a "difficult" decision that is never taken lightly, the closures have been brought on by the predominance of online banking and each closing store is said to have been chosen to impact residents as little as possible.

As customer behaviour was significantly impacted by the pandemic last year, the bank have used data from 2017-2019 to show that counter transactions for personal customers decreased by 24% in St Helens.

Only three personal customers used the store on a regular basis in 2019, and 49% of customers also chose to use the bank's digital banking or their mobile banking app - something thought to have been accelerated even further since the pandemic.

These trends have also been felt nationally as banking preferences have changed "dramatically" in recent years, with increasing number of customers choosing mobile banking as the most efficient means to bank.

However, it is understood that many residents - in particular the older generation - rely on physical branches and help or assistance from staff.

For those who still wish to bank in person, RBS note that their NatWest branch will remain open on Ormskirk Street, with Wigan and Widnes the closest stores after this. Post Offices in St Helens, Dentons Green and College Street are also advised as alternative ways to bank.

To further ease the concerns of customers, the bank also state that members of their team will be available on the phone or by video to talk people through their personal banking.

A Royal Bank of Scotland spokesperson said: “As with many industries, most of our customers are shifting to mobile and online banking, because it’s faster and easier for people to manage their financial lives.

"We understand and recognise that digital solutions aren’t right for everyone or every situation, and that when we close branches we have to make sure that no one is left behind. We take our responsibility seriously to support the people who face challenges in moving online, so we are investing to provide them with support and alternatives that work for them.”