NEWS that Silsden's NatWest Bank branch is to close this autumn has sparked an angry reaction from local people.

The bank announced last Wednesday that the Kirkgate premises would close on November 18, blaming falling levels of demand.

A NatWest spokesman said: "The number of transactions taking place in this branch has fallen by 23 per cent over the last few years. It is only open for 18 hours and only 30 customers use it on a weekly basis.

"Over our whole branch network there has been a 30 per cent drop in branch transactions since 2010 as people do their banking where and when it is convenient for them. Online and mobile transactions have grown by over 200 per cent."

People opposing the closure say the loss of this branch will have a serious impact on people who rely on it.

Stuart Rowland, partner at neighbouring firm Walker Foster solicitors, said: "It'll be a major inconvenience for us and for many other businesses and individuals in the town.

"It's the only bank left in Silsden, and we have a huge balance with them.

"It will be a big blow to us if we no longer have access to a local bank where we can pay in funds and have our other banking requirements dealt with."

Craven Ward councillor Adrian Naylor said: "I'm very concerned about what's going to happen.

"I know that by November NatWest are hoping to have an arrangement where their customers can pay in and take money out of the local post office. But this won't be handling more complex transactions.

"In 2012 NatWest ran an advertising campaign which said that if they were the last remaining bank branch in town they'd continue to maintain banking services. The impression given then was that they would keep this kind of branch open."

The NatWest spokesman said: "We've taken a number of measures to ensure our customers will still have access to banking in the area.

"We understand that some of our customers do not use the Internet or mobile phone app and prefer to be served over-the-counter. So we've come to an agreement with the local Post Office, so that customers can withdraw cash and check balances free of charge.

"In the coming months they'll also be able to pay money in and businesses will be able to get coinage.

"We'll lift Basic Bank Account ATM restrictions for active customers of these branches so they can use all other ATMs."