Local MSP Jackie Baillie used a debate at the Scottish Parliament yesterday to call on RBS to rethink controversial plans to close its branch in Alexandria later in the summer.
Jackie Baillie told MSPs that RBS had failed to consult its customers on the decision to close the Mitchell Way branch. She also warned that the alternative arrangements put in place to allow customers to access some banking services at the Post Office were inadequate.
RBS announced recently that its busy Vale branch would close on 15 August 2016 and customers will need to travel 4 miles to the next nearest branch in Dumbarton.
Jackie said the closure was “short-sighted given the regenerations plans for Alexandria town centre and the £6.5 million that is being pumped into the local high street and Mitchell Way.”
She also used the debate to praise the cross-party opposition to the change, with the Labour-led administration in West Dunbartonshire and their SNP opposition uniting to condemn the closure.
Jackie has asked for a meeting with senior managers from RBS in the coming weeks to highlight the concerns among the Alexandria community about the impact on the town centre and on customers, especially pensioners and disabled people, who would find it difficult to travel to Dumbarton.
“Like all the other major banks, RBS signed up to an agreement last year on bank closures which pledged to work with local communities to establish the impact of closing branches before any changes take place. Despite making this promise, RBS has completely failed to consult its customers in the Vale and local people feel let down that this closure has been presented as a ‘done deal’.
“RBS has made a big deal about the arrangements being put in place to allow customers to withdraw cash and pay in cheques at post office branches but this simply does not go far enough. Post office queues are already long as it is and people will still have to travel four miles to Dumbarton to access a whole host of traditional banking services, including opening a new account or getting advice on a loan or mortgage.
“The proposal is so short-sighted, given the regeneration plans for Alexandria town centre and the £6.5 million that is being pumped into the local high street and Mitchell Way, where the bank branch is situated. I also note that the council has already invested just shy of £1 million to improve signage, including improvements to RBS’s premises.
“I look forward to meeting RBS bosses soon to urge them to halt the closure until it holds a full consultation with local people and conducts a thorough assessment of the impact on the town centre and its customers.”