Banking on mobile service is not popular

Royal Bank of Scotland mobile banking vans are out and about in the Borders.
Royal Bank of Scotland mobile banking vans are out and about in the Borders.

A new timetable for the Haddington based RBS mobile bank that visits Berwickshire towns and villages came into operation this week.

Routes have been changed to accommodate the forthcoming closures of a number of local branches including Duns and Eyemouth.

A mobile RBS van will visit Ayton, Foulden, Paxton, Allanton, and Chirnside on a Monday. On Tuesdays one RBS van will visit Greenlaw, Duns and Eyemouth, and a second one will be in Coldstream, Swinton and Leitholm.

Berwickshire residents have few options left other than using a mobile branch or embracing internet and mobile banking - both Bank of Scotland and the Royal Bank of Scotland having closed branches in the smaller towns and villages and now RBS plans to close its last two Berwickshire based branches at Duns and Eyemouth.

By the summer, if the RBS plans go ahead, there will only be two bank branches left in Berwickshire - Bank of Scotland branches at Duns and Eyemouth.

A alternative option is to embrace online and mobile phone banking but a recent survey by Which? reveals that mobile phone banking is not popular with customers.

Which? found that 6/10 people said they were unlikely to open a mobile-only savings account and two thirds said that they would be unlikely to open a mobile-only current account. However, the findings were a slight improvement on previous results when seven out of ten people said they were unlikely to open a mobile-only savings account.

Rachael Hamilton MSP for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire said: “This timely Which? survey reinforces the view held by many. People do not like mobile banking. People, contrary to the banks opinion, enjoy going into a physical branch to do their banking in a safe and trusted environment.

“When meeting with Borderers to discuss the RBS branch closures the verdict in favour of keeping them open was unanimous. Nobody voiced positivity at the prospect of mobile-only banking.

“RBS needs to listen to Borderers, listen to their customers and reverse their decision to close these much valued branches.”

Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Ross McEwan will be questioned by MPs, including Borders MP John Lamont, next week about the planned closure of 52 branches, including six in the Borders.

Mr McEwan is set to appear before the UK Government’s Scottish affairs committee on Tuesday, May 8, after members insisted he appear in person to answer questions, including how RBS would respond to a request from the UK Government, as the majority shareholder, to reconsider its closure programme.

In recent months over 300 Borderers have attended meetings about the proposed RBS local branch closures, telling organisers Mr Lamont and Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP Rachael Hamilton about their concerns including lack of adequate broadband to access digital services, and access to mobile branches for elderly and disabled customers.