The Royal Bank of Scotland confirmed this week it would be closing down three branches which have served the local community for years.
Premises in Main Street, Stenhousemuir, and La Porte Precinct, Grangemouth and Glasgow Road, Denny will be closing down for good in October.
RBS stated changing times, technology and a move towards telephone and onine banking were the main reasons behind the closures.
The decision is yet another banking blow for Grangemouth – earlier in the year the Clydesdale Bank announced plans to close its La Porte Precinct branch on April 27, citing the same basic reason as RBS.
Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald said he understood the RBS decision but was still disappointed the branches could not remain open for people who have come to rely on the face to face service the banks have provided over the years.
Mr MacDonald said: “This announcement is deeply regrettable and will clearly have an impact on customer. Although unfortunate, it is not difficult to understand the reasons why we are seeing an increase in these closures.
“The impact of telephone and online banking is clear to see, with more and more customers preferring to do their banking using these methods. In turn, the move to an online 24/7 service is having an impact on the viability of local branches.
“Royal Bank of Scotland will have to ensure their customers are given every opportunity to seek to move their accounts, should they chose to do so, but also to reach out to those customers unable to access online banking in order to meet their concerns and provide an alternative service in the time between now and these closures.
“I am pleased to hear the bank is communicating with their customers in a very proactive way and are deploying a team of experts across their network to give regular customers the opportunity to experience online banking and allow time to decide upon the correct option to suit their own needs when it comes to banking, before the branches close in October.”
Falkirk MP John McNally said: “I am deeply disappointed that RBS has taken the decision to close these branches in Denny and Stenhousemuir. Constituents rely on and need their bank as they organise their day-to-day finances.
“It makes such a difference having a member of banking staff available to discuss things with. While it’s true that many people use online banking these days, there are others, especially more elderly residents, who do not and who much prefer to talk to a human being.
“Losing a bank is a blow to any high street.”
According to RBS there are 20 free to use ATMs within a mile of the Grangemouth branch and 13 within a mile of the Stenhousemuir premises. The nearest branch for both locations is the RBS bank in Newmarket Street, Falkirk.
An RBS spokesperson said: “Our world is changing rapidly, with people relying more and more on technology in all aspects of their life. Shopping and booking a holiday online has become the norm for many – banking is no different and many of our customers are looking for and using more convenient ways to bank.
“As a result of this change, since 2011 we have seen the number of transactions in the Grangemouth branch decline by 31 per cent. These customers are actively choosing to bank in different ways, with 56 per cent of customers choosing to use our digital banking.
“The number of transactions in the Stenhousemuir branch declined by 26 per cent. These customers are actively choosing to bank in different ways, with 63 per cent of customers choosing to use our digital banking options.
“We are following the Access to Banking protocol and we have made the decision after careful consideration of a wide range of factors, including regular branch usage and the alternative ways our customers can bank with us.
“We provide a range of alternative ways to bank, tailored to the needs of our customers and reflective of the way they live their lives.”