BARCLAYS bank has announced its Northumberland Heath branch will close following a significant fall in transactions over the past five years.

The branch in Bexley Road is expected to close its doors for good on April 22.

A rising popularity in online banking is cited as one of the reasons why in store transactions have fallen by 38 per cent since 2008.

A Barclays spokesman said: “If we look at the nature of the transactions, the majority are cash out or cash in - transactions personal customers can make at a post office.

“I do appreciate that the decision to close the branch will cause concern to our customers and I would encourage anyone in these circumstances to talk to the branch team or to their relationship manager if they are a business customer.”

He added: “The fact is the reduction in transactions is an industry wide trend and relates to people’s changing banking habits whereby many people no longer use the bank branch at all, preferring to use telephone, online or mobile phone banking.

“Also where people do use a branch they will do so where they work, or while they are on a shopping trip to a larger centre.

“Our research shows that two thirds of the customers of the Northumberland Heath branch also use other branches nearby.”

All staff working at the Northumberland Heath branch will be re-located to other branches in the area.