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RBS bank closure condemned by Bonnybridge residents

Councillor Billy Buchanan, Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson,  RBS customer Kenneth Halliday, business owner Ali Akbar and the Rev. George MacDonald of Bonnybridge St Helen's parish church all oppose the plans to close the local RBS branch

Councillor Billy Buchanan, Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson, RBS customer Kenneth Halliday, business owner Ali Akbar and the Rev. George MacDonald of Bonnybridge St Helen's parish church all oppose the plans to close the local RBS branch

 

Opposition to the closure of an bank branch in Bonnybridge has intensified this week with more than 1000 residents signing a petition demanding that it remains open.

Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson and Councillor Billy Buchanan are also calling for the bank, the last in the town, to be given a reprieve.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) plans to close the branch in Main Street on June 3. It claims that the number of customers using it has dropped in recent years as more people switch to online banking.

Councillor Buchanan has written to RBS local CEO Linda Cairns inviting her to attend a public meeting in Bonnybridge to explain the company’s decision.

“I have contacted her 18 times - either by phone or email - to request a meeting, but I have just been fobbed off. It seems RBS are just counting down the clock until the branch closes,” he said.

“RBS has shown great disrespect to me and the community.”

A petition launched by the councillor, calling for bank officials to reverse the closure, continues to attract new signatories.

Michael Matheson, MSP for the area, told The Falkirk Herald he had also written to RBS to register his disappointment over the decision.

“They have shown a complete disregard for the needs of customers in Bonnybridge,” he said.

“It’s ironic that a bank that is still effectively taxpayer-owned has lost its customer focus.”

If the closure goes ahead, the closest RBS branch to Bonnybridge will be in Denny, just under two miles away.

“Many elderly customers prefer dealing with their finances face-to-face,” said Councillor Buchanan. “They’re unlikely to use internet banking. This is putting them at a disadvantage.”

A spokeswoman for RBS said that local CEO Linda Cairns had personally spoken to more than 100 customers on the phone and responded to over 20 emails on the branch closure, explaining that customers can still do their banking in the Post Office.

“The feedback from these customers, once they know what services they can use at the Post Office, as been positive,” she said.

“Branch staff have also been talking to customers who come into the bank about the different ways they can bank with us, even going as far as taking them to the Post Office and introducing them to staff there.”

She added that Ms Cairns had offered to meet Councillor Buchanan for a one-to-one meeting in the branch.

 

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