Claims have been made this week that Royal Bank of Scotland’s new mobile banking service in Whithorn is failing disabled customers.
MSPs say the failings are because staff are not trained to operate the access ramp into the vehicle.
Whithorn and District Community Council secretary Julia Muir Watt told the Galloway Gazette that it had asked local MSPs to intervene on its behalf and put pressure on the state-backed lender for urgent action after some customers had to do their banking on the street or through a car window.
The mobile service was introduced last autumn after the bank closed branches in Galloway including Whithorn, Glenluce and Dalbeattie.
Galloway MSP Alex Fergusson said: “I am concerned at the bank’s attitude to disabled customers who are being ‘served’ either on the pavement or through a car window.
“This is despite the fact that the mobile van is apparently fitted with a ramp, but when asked why it isn’t in use, residents have been told that the staff aren’t trained to use it.
“That is, frankly, unacceptable, and I have joined forces with Aileen McLeod MSP in writing to the bank to highlight these concerns and request that they are addressed as a matter of urgency.”
South of Scotland MSP Aileen McLeod added: “I have been in correspondence with RBS, along with Alex Fergusson, regarding disabled access to the mobile branch, which is a particular problem. We have also asked that RBS consider relocating the van to the community centre car park since it is fairly central, and could at least give people somewhere warm to wait.”
An RBS spokesperson said: “We encourage any customers who has difficulty accessing the mobile branch to let us know and we’ll do everything we can to make adjustments and help them so that they can still access our services.”
RBS have also apologised to their customers in Whithorn after bad weather prevented their mobile branch from reaching the South Machars town last Friday.
Unfortunately the message didn’t get through to some customers as a queue had formed in the street in freezing temperatures
Julie Muir Watt said: “The community council asked RBS prior to closure if they would consider opening one or two days per week in the existing building, to give some permanent presence in Whithorn.
“They refused, and told us that all the issues we raised regarding winter weather, mobile connections for the internet and disabled access had been addressed. It seems from what we now know that they have not been - this includes what happens when the roads are icy and how the disabled gain access to the van.
“Some customers visited the Post Office last Friday instead of the mobile van as most ordinary banking transactions can be carried out over the counter at the Post Office.”