Westhill meeting over RBS closure

The Royal Bank of Scotland's Westhill branch
The Royal Bank of Scotland's Westhill branch

Royal Bank of Scotland bosses will meet customers and community representatives next week to discuss the closure of the Westhill branch.

RBS announced last month that the bank, along with others in the North-east including Banchory and Stonehaven, would shut its doors for the final time in October.

Westhill and District Councillor Iris Walker has arranged Tuesday’s meeting in a bid to see “adequate alternative arrangements” in place before the closure date.

Since the announcement, she has been contacted by many anxious personal, business and charity accountholders.

Councillor Walker said: “By the time customers like us are aware of an upcoming closure, the decision has already been made and affected staff and other key stakeholders officially notified.

“I am aware that a petition was set up to try to save the branch from closure, but judging by previous ones in other areas failing to overturn these decisions, we need to look forward and ensure that residents do have adequate alternatives come October.”

She added: “We will be asking the local CEO and her staff about partnership arrangements with the Post Office, about retaining the free ATMs and about getting the very best mobile branch facilities as possible, at times to suit local customers.

“For those who want to try online banking for the very first time, we need to ensure that customers have the full support of RBS to confidently make this transition.”

Westhill customers will have to travel to the branch at Queen’s Cross in Aberdeen.

Councillor Walker said: “The Royal Bank of Scotland has been a well-used facility and a key feature in the vibrancy of our shopping centre.

“As well as making sure that local residents have the best alternative banking arrangements, we would hope that if and when the bank moves out, any new tenant would provide an equally valuable service to the community.

“Residents have already said to me that the last thing they want to see in that prime spot is another fast food outlet.”

RBS said at the time of closure announcement that since 2011 the number of transactions at the Westhill branch had fallen by 39%, with 71.9% of customers going digital.

The bank added that it was communicating with customers affected by the closure and proactively contacting vulnerable and regular branch users.