I READ with much dismay your report in the Echo (March 16) that come autumn, NatWest Bank is to close five of its local branches including ours in Winton.

My partner and I are pensioners and we remember with sadness losing the opportunity to go to our bank manager for advice, whether it was for a loan or a better way to steward our money.

I have had an account with NatWest for 56 years and my partner has had hers for almost as long; we knew all the staff and they knew us, often on first name terms and the manager would know our finances well enough to assess what risks he or she was taking in offering any advances.

Banks now seem to completely disregard any loyalty clients have towards their bank, they encourage us vigorously to use the internet for our transactions and back this policy up by systematically removing their physical presence from the high street.

I do have a computer, indeed I am using it to write this letter, my partner also has one though she seldom uses it and as a result is less competent, but the last thing we want is for these to be the carriageway for moving our money.

So often we read reports of bank accounts being ‘hacked’ into, bank computers crashing and business is frozen for hours or even a day and villains are getting very clever at scamming our money from us.

All this leaves us older generation feeling vulnerable and we would much prefer to toddle off down to our bank to meet someone who greets us with a smile and if they are not too busy will chat a while.

This is a social interaction which we value, it’s the reason why I go to a manned checkout in the supermarket and not an automated one; people who are working with colleagues all around them have a chance to share what’s on their mind, they will not realise how valuable their company is until it is not there.

Having people to talk to enriches us, which is why for all the points mentioned above, I shall be sending a similar letter to NatWest telling them why I am moving my account to Santander where I can find a newly upgraded and busy local branch.

Michael Farmer

McWilliam Close, Poole