COUNCILLORS HAVE MOVED to condemn the latest decision by a national banking group to withdraw services from two Moray towns.
It emerged yesterday that the Royal Bank of Scotland branch in Forres would be closed – and shortly after that the same fate awaited the bank’s Buckie branch.
Buckie’s SNP councillor Sonya Warren joined with her Forres colleague Aaron McLean in submitting an emergency notice of motion, to be placed before the final Full Council meeting taking place on Wednesday before May’s local elections.
The motion condemns the decision by the Bank, of which the UK Taxpayer has a majority shareholding, calling on the council convener Stewart Cree to write to the Chief Executive of the bank expressing concerns over the community and economic impact of the announced closures.
Councillor Warren said: “Buckie has just been hit with the closure of the Clydesdale Bank and to lose another major banking name in RBS is very concerning for the town.
“The banking staff are respected, hard-working employees who provide significant support for personal and business banking customers alike. Buckie is continuing to grow and banking facilities are really important.
“With growth in work at the harbour and expansion of other commercial activity in the town this decision makes little sense to me. I am urging RBS to think again about these closures.”
Councillor McLean added: “We are now left with only two banks in Forres plus our local credit union – which is unheard of compared to the situation even 10 years ago.
“I have already moved my account to the ones that have branches still in Forres and I would suggest to RBS that many customers in Forres will do the same if they want or need to visit a branch.
“Even those who are happy with online banking would, I’m sure, look into the many attractive deals with other online banks to switch accounts since they won’t have the personal service that the excellent staff at my local branch currently provide.”
Gordon McDonald, SNP Councillor for Buckie, said: “This is another banking blow for Buckie following the recent Clydesdale decision and I am extremely disappointed that RBS is following the same route.
“People value their High Street banking services and there are many things that are simply not easy to do over the phone or on the internet. Mortgage advice, cash banking – especially for businesses – and banking for the significant number of folk that don’t have internet access are just a few examples. This decision is wrong and must be challenged.”
Announcing the closures yesterday, a Royal Bank of Scotland spokesman a fall in customer transactions by around a third at each of the 30 branches being closed throughout Scotland.