Following the decision by the Royal Bank of Scotland to close branches in Troon, Prestwick, Girvan, Mauchline, Cumnock, South Scotland MSP Brian Whittle has been working to address the impact the closures will have on customers, particularly older people and vulnerable groups.
After speaking with the Royal Bank’s local CEO, Brian arranged for Girvan Age Concern to meet one of the Royal Bank’s new local TechXperts who was able to offer advice about internet and telephone banking options, digital skills as well as how to avoid becoming a victim of fraud. TechXperts are now out working in the area and would be happy to visit other groups whose members are interested or could benefit from their advice.
The MSP has also been in touch with senior figures at the Royal Bank of Scotland and last week took part in a conference call between them and Age Scotland, who have voiced concerns over branch closures. During the call, all sides agreed that communication with customers was key and that it was important that they understood the alternatives open to them such as telephone banking, online banking, carrying out transactions in local post offices or, in some areas, using a Royal Bank mobile branch van.
Chairman of Royal Bank of Scotland’s Scottish board, Malcolm Buchanan said: “Our conversation with Brian Whittle MSP and Age Scotland was very productive and we look forward to continuing to work together.
“Banking in Scotland has changed considerably and as customers’ banking behaviours change, we have to adapt. We now have Community Bankers and TechXperts based across Scotland to support customers during the change.”
“In rural areas we have mobile branches to provide face to face bank services. We also provide a 24/7 telephony service where customers can carry out the vast majority of transactions. Our agreement with the Post Offices means customers can withdraw and deposit cash and businesses can get coinage.”
“There are many different ways that our customers can bank with us and our six-month notice period for branch closures is designed to ensure that we are able to spend as much time as necessary with individual customers to help find a banking solution that is right for them. We are committed to working with customers to allow them to bank with us confidently and securely.”
Brian Whittle MSP said: “I’m grateful to the Royal Bank of Scotland and Age Scotland for working with me on this issue. The closure of bank branches is always going to be a difficult and emotive subject, but the best way forward is to encourage engagement between banks, local communities and organisations representing vulnerable groups, before and after any decision about closures are made.”
“It’s clear to me that the Royal Bank of Scotland are working to engage with these groups but during our call I think we all recognised that there are still opportunities to improve how closures are dealt with.”
“I’m pleased that Royal Bank of Scotland and Age Scotland have agreed to continue their dialogue on this issue. While Age Scotland have highlighted the benefits of retaining branches for many older people, they agree it is important customers affected by branch closures understand what options are available to them. Much of the concern from the public comes from uncertainty and the best way to counter that is by communicating as much as possible.”
“I will continue to work with the Royal Bank of Scotland, Age Scotland and other organisations to address the concerns of local residents about these closures”