SNP MSP for the South of Scotland Dr Aileen McLeod expressed her concern over the decision by Royal Bank of Scotland to close its branches in Whithorn, Glenluce and Dalbeattie, in September.
Dr McLeod commented: “This is not good news for the towns and villages which will be affected by RBS’s decision and of course I am concerned about the future prospects for the staff involved too.
“I am not convinced that the closure of these branches will be good for customer service or for financial inclusion, which is particularly important in a rural low-wage area.
“RBS took the decision not that long ago to restrict its Basic Account customers to using only RBS, Natwest and Ulster Bank cash machines. If they remove their cash machine from Dalbeattie when the branch closes, the next nearest RBS bank machine will be in Castle Douglas. RBS need to reassure their Basic Bank Account customers that they will still have access to their own money.
“Similarly, there are no details yet of the mobile service and, importantly, what services that will actually provide and how often it will actually be in the affected towns and villages.
“People need to have reassurance over these points so I will be writing to RBS to ask them to provide more information as a matter of urgency.”
A spokesman for RBS said: “We are putting a number of measures in place to ensure that our customers can still bank with us. These include:
A new Mobile Branch: we’ve invested in a new mobile branch that will cover many more communities and provide a more personal banking service. We’re working with the local council on the exact stops to make sure we get the right route, but we will publish the timetable before the branch closes.
Customers will still be able to do all the same transactions they could do in the branch, but the van will also be equipped with satellite technology which will allow staff on board to connect directly to customers account.
It will also have an on-board iPad which will allow customers to register for online banking, with staff on hand to provide demonstrations of things such as keeping track of statements, transferring money to and from accounts and paying bills, and to help customers where required.
Post Office: We also have an arrangement with the local Post Office, which is a very short walk away, that allows our customers to withdraw cash, check balances and pay bills free of charge. We also recently announced that in the coming months, our customers will be able to deposit both cash and cheques, and businesses will be able to get coinage, in any of the Post Office’s 11,500 branches across the UK
ATM: For customers who have basic bank accounts with these branches, they will have their restrictions lifted and will be able to use ATMs from other banks in the area.”