17 April 2018

We can only hope the bank will listen

Earlier this week residents across the north-east found out that RBS were making further changes to how they operate in local areas.

Due to the bank closure in Banff, a mobile banking van will now visit the area twice weekly on a Monday and a Wednesday for one hour and one hour 15 minutes respectively over the two selected days.

For other areas, some mobile banking will only be available for 45 minutes at a time.

RBS did not carry out any consultations, nor issue a press release or hold a meeting with MSPs so that they could inform constituents through information from a senior RBS stakeholder.

The information was buried in a small sentence on their website.

Since RBS announced months ago that it would be closing branches, local communities - supported by their SNP MSPs - have rightly complained.

It was because of that hard work that SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford was able to secure a reprieve for 10 of these branches.

The latest round of changes is in addition to the 52 branches across Scotland that are scheduled for closure.

Since this latest announcement, my north east colleagues and I have written to the chief executive of RBS calling for a meeting.

Many constituents feel understandably angry that RBS, an organisation which was bailed out by this country less than a decade ago, does not seem particularly considerate of the impact this will have on people, particularly the older generation.

In the letter to Mr McEwan, we said:

"It is our view that timetabling a mobile bank to spend 45 minutes per week in those settlements which are losing a branch. is wholly insufficient.

"That the communities of Ellon, Turrlff and Dyce face having the services previously provided by an RBS branch replaced by a weekly 45-minute visit by a mobile bank is of critical concern.

"Furthermore, the current mobile banking facilities employed by RBS are inaccessible for many of the most vulnerable customers for whom their RBS branch was an essential service.

"Of further concern is the decision to reduce existing mobile banking services across the region.

"It is regrettable that such services in Banff will be limited to a collective time of 75 minutes on a Monday and 60 minutes on a Wednesday, and that services in across south and west Aberdeenshire will collectively be reduced by 55 minutes per week.

"Without a branch RBS customers rely on this mobile service, and we ask that RBS reconsider its decision to further reduce the services it provides to these rural communities.

"We urge you to meet with us to discuss these concerns, and that you ensure future changes to RBS services crucial to communities are made only after consultation with those communities."

We can only hope that RBS will listen and understand our concerns now.

Stewart Stevenson
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