Bank defends service as branch closes

The former RBS branch in Girvan's Dalrymple Street.
The former RBS branch in Girvan's Dalrymple Street.

With the Girvan branch of RBS closing last week a local MSP has questioned the bank’s accessibility for disabled customers.

Keith Brown MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work is contacting the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to add his voice to calls that they make mobile banking accessible to every customer.

The move comes after Jeane Freeman, MSP for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley wrote to the Government minister highlighting what she said was the ‘failure’ of RBS to provide accessible mobile banking.

Ms Freeman asked Mr Brown to join her in pressing RBS to meet their statutory duty under parts 3 and 4 of the Equality Act 2010.

This Act requires that organisations must take positive steps to ensure that a disabled person can access the same services and premises, as far as possible, as someone who is not disabled. In Mr Brown’s response he shared Ms Freeman’s concerns at the scale and pace of bank branch closures throughout Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley.

He also explained that while he understands many factors will be taken in to consideration when deciding to close a branch, that RBS have a duty to ensure all customers are able to access services in a way that meets their needs. He is now asking RBS directly to explain what action the bank will take to ensure it meets its statutory duty for all its customers.

Following receipt of the letter Jeane Freeman, MSP for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley said: “I am delighted that Mr Brown has taken the decision for the Scottish Government to press RBS to meet its statutory and moral obligations. It is unacceptable for the bank to close branches and then fail to put genuinely accessible alternatives in place. Phone or online banking does not work for everyone and mobile banking should be genuinely accessible.

“It is a poor show that this bank thinks it acceptable for a customer with any mobility problems at all to be forced to do their banking in a car park because they can’t physically get in to the mobile bank

“I look forward to seeing the reply Mr Brown receives and hope that finally, RBS will make the necessary and reasonable changes that my constituents in Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley need and deserve.”

RBS this week said it took its responsibilities to disabled customers ‘very seriously’ and had made adjustments to its services for customers with disabilities. These include Community Bankers who are able to visit customers in their own homes. An RBS spokesperson said: “We take our responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 very seriously and strive to provide the best service for all our customers, including making reasonable adjustments for customers with disabilities. As well as our mobile banking service, we also offer community bankers, who can visit customers at their home.”

The RBS mobile bank visits Girvan every Tuesday 2.25-3.40pm and Thursday 10.15-11.30am at Flushes Car Park.