Richmond Park’s MP has spoken of her concern after another bank has announced it will be closing on the high street.

Sarah Olney wrote to the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) following the news that its branch in The Quadrant, TW9, will shut its doors on November 2, 2021.

In a letter to directors, the MP expressed fears that rates of bank fraud could increase due to a reliance on digital services.

Ms Olney acknowledged that although there has been a change in habits - with “54% of customers now digitally active” - some customers still face challenges.

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Sarah Olney, Richmond Park MPSarah Olney, Richmond Park MP

The Richmond Park MP said: “Most fraud targeted at individuals is conducted via unauthorised payments from payment cards, remote banking and cheques. However, a significant amount of fraud in 2019 was also conducted via authorised payments, where the victim is tricked into transferring the money to the criminal. 

“It has been reported that criminals are increasingly using ‘social engineering’ techniques to bypass bank security measures. Such techniques include impersonating an authority figure, developing a friendly relationship with the victim and creating a sense of urgency to encourage poor decision-making. 

“Those most likely to find themselves at the behest of such scams are those who are less digitally literate or familiar with online banking technologies, who have not been properly introduced to these services.”

The MP called for a safer online banking environment, while asking RBS how it will protect residents against such scams.

RBS acknowledged that bank closure could cause “worry” in some customers, but pointed towards a decline in customers.

The bank said that changes in customer demand had 2017-19, with counter transactions for personal customers at this branch have decreased by 8%. 

It added that the branch was used by four personal customers on a regular basis in 2019.

The bank said it was investing in several schemes to reduce the risk of bank fraud.

An RBS spokesperson said: “Last year, we directly educated almost 450,000 people in the UK about fraud and scams through our outreach work.

“This year we’re investing more than £700,000 into communicating directly with our customers about scams and staying safe.”

RBS added that the nearest NatWest branch - where Royal Bank customers can make use of services - is less than half a mile away on George Street and is also open on a Saturday.

Customers who are over 60 can also call a support line which is open 8am to 8pm seven days a week on 0800 051 4177.