RBS con­firms branch in Mon­trose will close

SNP politi­cians who held talks with bank of­fi­cials vow to fight on

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - Graeme stra­chan

Cam­paign­ers fight­ing to save the Mon­trose RBS branch from clo­sure were yes­ter­day told it is a point­less ex­er­cise.

Mairi Gougeon, SNP MSP for An­gus North and Mearns, Mon­trose SNP coun­cil­lor Bill Duff and Mearns SNP coun­cil­lor Leigh Wil­son held crunch talks with se­nior RBS of­fi­cials.

At the meet­ing RBS con­firmed there will be no U-turn and the Mon­trose High Street bank will shut as planned on June 6 to be re­placed by a mo­bile van sched­uled to visit Mon­trose twice a week for two one-hour slots.

But, de­spite be­ing told all hope is lost, Mrs Gougeon said the SNP politi­cians would not “sim­ply give up and move on” and they will now launch a pe­ti­tion to save it out­side the Mon­trose branch on Satur­day.

Mr Duff said: “I’m hugely dis­ap­pointed with the pro­pos­als from RBS.

“The of­fer of two one-hour slots from a mo­bile van to cover Mon­trose is not ac­cept­able.”

RBS said many more cus­tomers in the Mon­trose area are now ac­cess­ing ser­vices on­line.

SNP politi­cians have rounded on RBS after it said there will be no U-turn on its plan to close its Mon­trose branch.

Mairi Gougeon, SNP MSP for An­gus North and Mearns, Mon­trose SNP coun­cil­lor Bill Duff and Mearns SNP coun­cil­lor Leigh Wil­son held crunch talks with se­nior RBS of­fi­cials in the town yes­ter­day to state the case to save the branch.

RBS con­firmed the Mon­trose High Street bank will shut as planned on June 6 to be re­placed by a mo­bile van that will visit Mon­trose twice a week for two one-hour slots.

But Mrs Gougeon said the SNP politi­cians would not “sim­ply give up and move on” and will launch a pe­ti­tion to save it on Satur­day.

“This clo­sure is go­ing to hit our ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties and the most vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple within them the hard­est – those who are un­able to bank on­line or don’t have ac­cess to com­put­ers, peo­ple who are re­liant on pub­lic trans­port as well as those with mo­bil­ity is­sues,” she said.

“RBS see their mo­bile branch vans as a so­lu­tion to ru­ral bank clo­sures but the ve­hi­cles can’t be ac­cessed by wheel­chair users or peo­ple with se­vere phys­i­cal dis­abil­i­ties.”

She con­tin­ued: “At our meet­ing it was also made clear the UK Gov­ern­ment do have the power to in­ter­vene to save

“RBS see their mo­bile branch vans as a so­lu­tion to ru­ral bank clo­sures but the ve­hi­cles can’t be ac­cessed by wheel­chair users or peo­ple with se­vere phys­i­cal dis­abil­i­ties. MAIRI GOUGEON

Mon­trose branch, and the other un­der-threat branches, as the ma­jor share­holder.

“Will they choose to do so or will they, like RBS, aban­don the cus­tomers who now need them most?”

Mon­trose will lose its branch fol­low­ing moves by RBS to close an ini­tial to­tal of 62 be­cause more of its cus­tomers are choos­ing to do their bank­ing on­line or on mo­bile.

“I’m hugely dis­ap­pointed with the pro­pos­als from RBS,” Mr Duff said.

“The of­fer of two one-hour slots from a mo­bile van to cover Mon­trose is not ac­cept­able.”

A spokesman for RBS said it was im­por­tant to stress the de­ci­sion was not taken lightly but trans­ac­tions at the branch have dropped by 30% since 2012 and more than half of its Mon­trose cus­tomers are now do­ing their bank­ing dig­i­tally.

He said they are en­gag­ing with cus­tomers in the run-up to the clo­sure to help them make the tran­si­tion when the branch is no longer there.

He also said RBS take the equal­ity act se­ri­ously and will ar­range al­ter­na­tives for any­one who has dif­fi­cul­ties ac­cess­ing the mo­bile vans – which might in­clude home vis­its.

John Glen, the eco­nomic sec­re­tary at the Trea­sury, said the UK Gov­ern­ment “can­not re­verse mar­ket move­ments or sig­nif­i­cant changes in cus­tomer be­hav­iour”. He said it was right the Gov­ern­ment does not in­ter­vene in com­mer­cial de­ci­sions which re­spond to these changes.

Mean­while, RBS has given a cast-iron guar­an­tee that the Ar­broath branch is in its long-term plans fol­low­ing a meet­ing yes­ter­day with An­gus Con­ser­va­tive MP Kirstene Hair.

gstra­chan@the­courier.co.uk

Pic­ture: Andy Thompson Pho­tog­ra­phy.

The branch will be re­placed by a mo­bile van that will visit Mon­trose twice a week.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.