Published: 10/04/2017 13:12 - Updated: 10/04/2017 13:57

Local councillor condemns High Street bank closure

A FORRES councillor condemned news that another local high street bank is to shut its doors for good.

Forres Royal Bank of Scotland.
Forres Royal Bank of Scotland.

The Royal Bank of Scotland branch will close on October 12.

A spokesman said it was a "difficult decision" and was mainly due to online and mobile banking, with the number of transactions in the Forres branch declining by 32 per cent since 2011.

He said: "The way people choose to bank with us has changed radically over the last few years."

SNP councillor Aaron McLean, who is running for re-election, condemned the closure.

He said: "We are now left with only two banks in Forres plus our local credit union. This 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 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."

A spokesman for RBS said mobile and online transactions have increased by more than 400 per cent in the last five years, with 60.9 per cent choosing to use digital banking options.

The spokesman said it is communicating with customers affected by the closure and proactively contacting vulnerable and regular branch customers.

He added: "We have listened closely to feedback from local communities and have extended the time between announcing our decision and the branch closure to six months. We know that not all of our customers are comfortable using online banking so we have created a specialist task force of digital experts dedicated to supporting our customers with training and support with digital skills."

However, Moray’s MSP Richard Lochhead and MP Angus Robertson said it would leave customers in Forres with a 20-mile round trip to Elgin to their nearest RBS branch.

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