Vote with your feet, bank customers told

The Royal Bank of Scotland branch in Selkirk.
The Royal Bank of Scotland branch in Selkirk.

Community councillors in Selkirk and Hawick this week slammed the Royal Bank of Scotland over its forthcoming branch closures in the two towns.

Branches in Melrose, Jedburgh, Duns and Eyemouth are also set to close this summer, leaving the region with only three, at Galashiels, Peebles and Kelso.

RBS in Hawick.

RBS in Hawick.

Members of Selkirk Community Council unanimously agreed to move its account to the nearby Bank of Scotland at its meeting on Monday evening and urged other Souters and businesses to do the same.

Chairman Alistair Patullo said: “If enough businesses and individuals did the same thing, then I’d like to think that it would help to keep the local Bank of Scotland branch open, at least.

“The community council’s account won’t have much bearing, but if it was the first of many, RBS might get the message that we are not happy.”

Judith Thompson agreed, saying: “I don’t think the community council account is keeping RBS afloat, but it makes sense to make a stand.”

Alasdaire Lockhart added: “I realise that banks are there to make a profit, but I have a slight problem with the RBS, in that it is meant to be the people’s bank.

“It has put in rather shabby contingency arrangements, such as banking online, which not everyone can do.

“This isn’t just about the inconvenience for people who bank with the RBS, but we are going to be left with another empty shop in the town centre.”

Hawick Community Council also slammed the decision to close the town’s branch, but it has decided not to move its accounts.

Chairman Ian Turnbull said: “It is not just the community council, but the whole community who are being let down by the proposed closure of RBS branches in the Borders.

“This closure particularly affects members of the community who, for whatever reason, do not, or cannot, carry out their banking online.

“RBS are clearly of the mindset that everybody should be banking online and cannot see, or more likely refuse to believe, that there are still members of the community who simply cannot gain the necessary skills to be able to do this.

“It is these members of the community who are most let down. It is extremely important that as many of their customers as possible, write to their MSP and MP in order to put as much pressure as possible on RBS to reverse their decision.”

Mr Turnbull added: “Due to the complexities of changing treasurers’ accounts, it is time-consuming for charities and other organisations to change to another bank easily.

“I respect the decision that Selkirk Community Council are taking to change banks, but my belief is that RBS will simply not care.

“Here in Hawick, we still have three other banks with branches, not counting the post office, which acts as an agent for some banks.

“In view of the fact that we recently lost a branch of Clydesdale Bank in Hawick, it seems that all of the banks are heading down this line.

“It is important therefore that customers of the remaining banks use them or they will lose them at some time in the future.”