It was with surprise and disappointment that I received a an e mail yesterday from the Royal Bank of Scotland stating that it is to close two of its branches in the Cowdenbeath constituency at Aberdour and in Kelty.
I have made contact with them and I am requesting a meeting to discuss their decision.
So far I have been inundated with people contacted me to express their shock and disappointment at these proposals.
The e mail from RBS
“We have taken the difficult decision to close two branches in your constituency – Aberdour and Kelty.
However we are taking a number of measures to ensure our customers can still bank with us in an easy and accessible way including in Post Offices and through our mobile van branch service that we will introduce to serve those communities.
Aberdour will close on the 25th August. There has been a 38% decline in transactions at this branch and only 16 customers use it on a weekly basis with half of those individuals using other branches in the local area. The branch is open for 12 hours a week and we have reached an agreement with the local Post Office, which is close to the branch, so our customers can pay money in, take money out, check balances and get business coinage. We will also be introducing mobile branch to serve numerous communities in your constituency.
Kelty will close on the 1st September. There has been a 16% decline in transactions at this branch and many of the customers who use it on a weekly basis use other branches in the local area. We will be keeping the ATM and the Post Office is close to the branch. We will also be introducing mobile van branch and there are 4 free to use ATMs within one mile of the branch.
Across our whole network branch transactions have declined by around 36% since 2010 whilst online and mobile transactions have grown by more than 300%. This is because the way people interact with us is changing and there are many more ways to bank with us now than there ever has been.
However we do understand that some people do not want to use our online or mobile phone facilities and would prefer face to face banking. As a result we have reached an agreement with the local Post Office. 80% of our customers in the UK are within 3 miles of a RBS/NatWest branch and if Post Office branches are included 90% of our customers are within one mile of somewhere they can do their banking.
We are announcing the closure to customers well before the actual closure itself so that we can engage with our customers to ensure they know the alternative ways of banking with us. We will be writing to our customers and publicising the closures in the branches. Our local staff will also be working with local people and local businesses to answer any questions and ensure that they are aware of the alternative ways of banking with us.
Our branch network is very important to us and we will continue to have one of the largest branch networks across the UK. We are investing heavily in our facilities and since 2011 we have spent £130 million on refurbishing 680 branches across the UK. We are also investing £1 billion in improving our online and mobile phone options as well as upgrading the digital offering in our branches.
I do hope I have managed to explain the reasons for the closure and the mitigating actions that we are taking. However, please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need anything”.