THREE Royal Bank of Scotland branches are set to close in North Ayrshire.

Their Saltcoats, Kilwinning and Kilbirnie branches will be shutting in June next year with a number of jobs on the line.

One source told the Herald: “There are a lot of unhappy people today after the news was broken.”

Back in March, RBS announced that 30 of their stores would be closing, including Prestwick, Girvan and Troon in South Ayrshire and they subsequently shut their doors in October.

A spokesman for RBS said: “We have taken the difficult decision to close the Royal Bank of Scotland Kilwinning, Kilbirnie and Saltcoats branches on the 11th, 5th and 20th June 2018 respectively.

“Since 2012 we have seen the way in which people use the Royal Bank of Scotland Kilwinning, Kilbirnie and Saltcoats branches change dramatically, with now 89 per cent of customers already banking in other ways locally.

“We are communicating with our customers affected by the closures and proactively contacting vulnerable customers and regular branch users. “

“We have extended the time between announcing our decision and the branch closure to six months; this has been done so that we can ensure our customers have enough time to consider the right banking options for them and to give us time to support them one-to-one during the transition.”

Local MP, Patricia Gibson, has written to Ross McEwan, Chief Executive of RBS and has written about the issue in her fortnightly column for the Herald.

She said in the column: “I have every sympathy for customers who feel let down by banks whose digital focus is at the expense of the face to face contact that so many people tell me they value. The elderly and people with disabilities are always amongst those hit hardest by bank closures. Whilst some banking services can be accessed via the post office, by switching to a credit union or another bank, many people have no choice but to visit their bank.

“Some towns are now being left with no banks whatsoever. The well-advertised promises made by RBS not to close a branch if it was the last one in a community have been shown to be meaningless.”

Joe Cullinane, leader of North Ayrshire Council and Kilwinning Councillor, reacted angrily to the news and said: “RBS decision is absolutely appalling. The old trotted out excuse, from all high street banks, that the nature of banking has changed fails to recognise that a significant proportion of our community, many of whom are the most vulnerable, are still reliant on face to face high street banking. That service is quite literally being ripped apart.

“In addition to the service concerns there are a number of others relating to the planned closures. For example, do staff face redundancy? Do RBS own the buildings and if so what are their intentions for them? Will the ATM at the branches be retained or removed like others have been after branch closures?

“For a town the size of Kilwinning, with a population of over 16,000, to be left with no high street bank would be shocking. I have written to RBS to request an urgent meeting with all four Kilwinning Councillors as this should be a cross party effort to fight against the closure. As Council Leader I will take any opportunity that presents itself to also raise opposition to the closure of the Saltcoats and Kilbirnie branches.”

Jamie Greene, Conservative MSP for West Scotland said: “This announcement of more RBS closures is very disappointing and will seriously affect many local residents.

“It is not just RBS, of course, this is an industry-wide problem as branch closures continue across the country as every bank feels the pinch of the move to digital banking.

“I will be writing to RBS directly to raise my concerns as to the impact of these closures, it is important that they are aware of the effect this might have on residents.

“Not everyone has access to online or mobile banking. Banks must remember that these closures are not only inconveniencing many but actually isolating those who still want to bank locally. I will keep local press up to date with any responses I receive from the RBS”

Independent Councillor for Kilbirnie and Beith, Donald L Reid, said: “With the closure of TSB, Clydesdale and Bank of Scotland in Beith in the summer, this is yet another body blow to local folk in North Ayrshire.

“It is very clear that banks put little value on service provision. Sadly, older people and those with disabilities will be hit hardest by this further raft of closures. I previously wrote to the local banks in Beith pleading with them to remain, but received the usual platitudes. I think it is disgraceful that ordinary folk in Kilbirnie, Kilwinning and Saltcoats will now feel that pain of RBS scampering out of town. I know such decision are made months and sometimes years in advance. They simply seem not to care about service to the public. It is a sign of the times - take the bawbees from locals, but don’t provide any service.”