A frustrated Woodley resident has hit back at a big banking chain after discovering that plans to close their local branch were being put into action.

Natwest, located on Crockhamwell Road in Woodley town centre has been marked for closure on October 5 2023.

The announcement comes after Natwest stated 40 more banks will be closing across the UK – in addition to the 66 it announced earlier this year.

Although the bank has cited a fall in counter transactions have resulted in the closure, a local customer service assistant has supposedly revealed that in January 2023, Woodley Natwest was visited by 2500 customers.

Dudley Jones, who resides in Woodley alongside his wife was shocked to receive the closure notice and decided to rally residents to sign a petition which calls on Natwest to revoke their decision.

Dudley said: "I’m sick of this. I moved to Natwest three years ago when Santander closed down.

“Over the past few years, they have been terrific and everyone in the bank were so helpful – especially as I am not very good with technology.

“This is why the closure of bank branches is a huge problem for the immobile and the elderly. It’s OK for younger people, but many my age can’t use a smart phone. After talking to two of my colleagues who told me that the Marlow and Henley branches had also closed, I thought I’d do something about it.

“I actually got my inspiration from the film ‘Bank of Dave’, where the little guy goes up against the establishment and wins.”

After receiving the letter, the 82-year-old ex-teacher said that he attempted to display the petition within the Natwest in Woodley and was refused permission by their Reading Manager.

Dudley said that he was simply told to put it in the library for people to view.

“Displaying it in the library will really have no impact because very few Natwest customers frequent the Woodley library.

“Although the letter they sent says that they are talking about their decision to close with the local community, I believe that they have already made up their minds.

Natwest have told customers that following the closure they would be required to travel to the Reading branch at the Oracle for in-person services. As a community with a high population of elderly residents, this is thought to be a decision which goes against what is needed by the community.

The petition put together by Mr Dudley states: “We ask you to respect the views of the ‘local community’ and keep this bank open. 

“Your elderly and less mobile customers should also be aware they can go to Lloyd’s Bank in Woodley and get a £125 switching bonus + 15% cashback on Sainsbury’s, Costa etc.

“On the same day the letter arrived, banks were condemned for profiteering (by not increasing savings rates in line with bank rate increases). Make Woodley NatWest a genuine community bank.”

A NatWest 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.”

The petition will be available to sign in the Brown Bag café in Oakwood Centre in Woodley.