No reprieve for ‘at risk’ local RBS banks

The Eyemouth RBS branch will close because there is still a Bank of Scotland branch in the town.
The Eyemouth RBS branch will close because there is still a Bank of Scotland branch in the town.

Royal Bank of Scotland’s revised closure plans have been described as “nowhere near good enough” by Borders MP John Lamont.

Following pressure from local communities and politicians RBS has agreed that where RBS is the last bank in town, the branch will remain open for another year and may stay open if transactions increase. The bank is also proposing that ATMs will be retained or relocated if there are no other free-to-use ATMs within 1km of the closing branch.

Scottish Affairs Committee vice chair John Lamont believes it is time for RBS chief executive Ross McEwan to be called before them to explain the bank’s decision.

In December the bank announced that branches in Melrose, Duns, Eyemouth, Hawick, Jedburgh and Selkirk were among the 62 under threat of closure.

John Lamont MP will be hosting a set of public meetings this Friday, February 9, including at the Volunteer Hall, Duns at 12.30pm, to discuss the closures.

He said: “These revised plans from RBS are simply nowhere near good enough. They would still mean five branches in the Borders closing their doors, with only Melrose given a temporary stay of execution.

“The bank has shown itself to be completely out of touch with the needs of customers in rural areas like the Borders.

“The acknowledgement from the bank of the issues that local post offices will face and the need to keep ATMs is helpful. But the only positive part of this news is that it shows that RBS is capable of changing its mind after initially refusing to budge.

Personal banking managing director at RBS, Jane Howard, said: “Having listened to the concerns of customers, communities and elected representatives from all political parties we have decided to keep ten branches open until the end of 2018.

“We will monitor the level of transactions and new income at each branch and if there is a sustained and viable increase we will reconsider the closure.”

“We’ll continue to invest in our branch network and services across Scotland.

“We provide our customers with more ways to bank than ever before – they can choose from a range of digital, to face-to-face options, including; Mobile and Online Banking, telephone banking, video banking, community bankers, our mobile banks on wheels, and Post Offices.”