Local MSP raises RBS bank closure issue with First Minister

Friday June 1st 2018

RBS Branch Closures

Local SNP MSP Christine Grahame raised the issues of RBS bank closures with the First Minister during First Minister’s questions this week in parliament.

The Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale MSP voiced her ire at comments made by RBS bosses that customers affected by closures can simply alternatively use the Post Office for their banking needs and has also written directly to RBS Chief Executive Ross McEwan.

The comments follow the announcement of dozens of branch closures nationally, including in the Borders and Midlothian.

Commenting Ms Grahame said:

“At present I have four branches of RBS in my constituency: Peebles, Galashiels, Melrose, which faces an uncertain future, and Penicuik, which will be closing next month. Particularly in rural communities the option of travelling to the next nearest branch is simply not viable for many – RBS is failing these communities.

“As for Post Offices being used as an alternative, as suggested by Ross McEwan CE of RBS, in my constituency alone we have seen Innerleithen, Earlston and Newtongrange Post Offices closed recently. Additionally communities such as Clovenfords, Fountainhall, Heriot or Broughton are reliant solely on mobile post offices with limited hours.

“Even where Post Offices are available I do not believe they can offer a viable alternative to face to face banking. Often post offices are in busy shops with limited privacy and, as talented as the post office staff are, I do not believe they would have the same expertise as the local banking staff RBS are currently making redundant.

“Many people are still dependent on high street services, this is a lifeline service for some. The claim that customers are opting for on-line banking is in part a consequence of closures – this option is not practicable for businesses lodging cash takings or in particular some elderly or vulnerable people who are not too content with on-line.

“I have invited RBS Chief Exec Ross McEwan to visit my constituency to speak with my constituents and better understand the reality of this situation. Given that he heads a company with 72 % public ownership I do not think this is an unreasonable request.”

Last week SPAR announced they were closing the Post Office in Bonnyrigg on the same day that the Bonnyrigg RBS branch closed.

To read a transcript of Ms Grahame’s exchange with the First Minister click HERE.

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