A Wigtown and District Community Councillor branded the new Bank of Scotland mobile service in the town “disastrous” at a meeting on Monday evening.
Nick Walker added that the service was also “incredibly slow” while Mid Galloway and Wigtown West Councillor Jim McColm had been told that the bank staff in the mobile were sticking to a very, very rigid closing time meaning some customers were not getting served.
The mobile was brought in after the Bank of Scotland branch closed in September but there have been complaints from customers.
Community Council convenor Sandra McDowall said: “The mobile bank was supposed to be a replacement service in the town - but it seems it’s not. There is no doubt that the new mobile bank is causing a lot of frustration. There are fundamental access problems, little shelter in inclement weather and restrictions on the amount of cash that can be paid in by any one customer. Possibly the plan is to put customers off using it so that they can legitimately say it is not being used and stop the service.”
She also highlighted the increasing number of people who were now banking online, leading fellow community councillor Willie McCartney to exclaim: “that’s why we now have a mobile bank!”
But Councillor McColm pointed out that “a sizable amount of the population do not bank digitally.”
However, community councillor Robin Richmond said the mobile service was “adequate”.
A Bank of Scotland spokesperson said: “The Castle Douglas mobile branch route provides a vital service to the local communities that it visits, giving customers access to everyday banking services such as making deposits, withdrawing cash and paying bills. Mobile branches are not a direct replacement of a branch but provide a service to our customers in locations where the nearest branch is no longer in easy reach. Our mobile branches include full disabled access, including a disabled lift allowing wheelchair access, and a hearing loop. We always take on board any feedback we receive from our customers in order to improve the service we provide.
“Personal customers can use a mobile branch for many of their everyday banking needs such as making deposits (£5,000 cash limit), withdrawing cash (£300 daily limit or £1000 if pre-ordered 48 hours before) and paying bills.”
The community council decided to find out if the Post Office in the town, which also provides a banking service, was any busier since the Bank of Scotland branch closed and to keep a “tab of complaints” from residents about the mobile service.