Branch closures ‘excluding’ those who do not use digital banking, says North-east MSP

the EU rubber- stamped a restructuring plan whereby RBS agreed to sell its Williams & Glyn branch network by the end of 2017.
the EU rubber- stamped a restructuring plan whereby RBS agreed to sell its Williams & Glyn branch network by the end of 2017.

The closure of local bank branches is “excluding” those who do not use digital banking, a North-east MSP has said in a motion to the Scottish Parliament.

Scottish Conservative Liam Kerr said recent decisions by banking giants, such as RBS and TSB, to reduce the number of outlets across Scotland is having a major impact on traditional high streets.

The Banchory branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland

The Banchory branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland

While changing consumer habits mean much more people are choosing to bank online, many older people still rely on local banks and face-to-face contact, he said.

RBS announced the closure of banks across the country last week, including branches in Banchory and Westhill.

Mr Kerr has tabled his motion calling on all MSPs to recognise the impact that the decision will have.

He said: “While I understand that more and more customers are doing their business online, I think companies like RBS still have a duty of care to offer equality of service for all.

The Royal Bank of Scotland's Westhill branch

The Royal Bank of Scotland's Westhill branch

“I think it is unfair to exclude people who, for whatever reason, do not use digital banking.

“Generally speaking, the people who will be affected by these closures are older people who may find it challenging to travel to a more distant branch.

“Some people also want to maintain that face-to-face contact which happens at the local branch.

“The recent RBS closures are part of a growing trend from the big banks that is also contributing to the demise of the traditional High Street.

“Unfortunately, the loss of footfall caused by another bank shutting its doors has a negative impact on other traders and continues that spiral of decline.”

Read more reactions about the closures of the Banchory and Westhill branches here.