THE Royal Bank of Scotland are facing fierce condemnation from politicians over their plan to shut their Kilwinning, Kilbirnie and Saltcoats branches.

The Herald exclusively revealed two weeks ago that RBS would close their branches in Kilwinning, Kilbirnie and Saltcoats next year. It has now been revealed that was just the tip of the iceberg - and the bank are set to close 62 branches across Scotland.

All three closures will hit the communities hard - but local politicians were particularly concerned about the Kilwinning situation as the closure will leave the town with no banks.

Kilwinning MSP Ruth Maguire met with RBS officials to discuss the closure plans last week.

The SNP member met with RBS Public Affairs Manager, Jamie Black, and Regional Director, Fiona Easton in the Scottish Parliament to discuss the proposed closure of the branch.

After the meeting, Ruth said: “Sadly, it appears that the Kilwinning branch will be closing as part of a wider national programme of closures.

“It is now imperative that the focus is on protecting local jobs and ensuring that local customers are supported, particularly older customers and those who value face-to-face banking.

“In today’s meeting, RBS said that they would be extending mobile banking facilities in light of the branch closure – and it is now crucial that they consult with local customers about where these services would be best placed.

“I also remain concerned about potential compulsory redundancies for staff at the branch – and will remain in contact with RBS about any developments.

“Following today’s meeting, I have written to RBS Regional Director, Fiona Easton, about the importance of consulting with customers locally regarding mobile banking – and requesting to be kept well up to date with any discussions around the future of local jobs.

“I will keep constituents up to date with any progress and continue to do all that I can to support local jobs and local customers.”

North Ayrshire & Arran MP Patricia Gibson, said: “This is a real blow to Kilwinning.

“It will cause significant inconvenience to the local businesses and customers who rely on the availability of banking services, not to mention the branch staff who may face redundancy. “RBS made well publicised promises not to close a branch if it was the last one in a community.

“Their words have been shown to be meaningless. “It is deeply disappointing they made no attempt to engage branch users and staff before the decision to close was taken, despite a code of conduct which suggests they should.

“Bank bosses point to digital banking as a solution, wilfully ignoring technical limitations, and the wishes of bank users.” The MP added: “I have every sympathy for customers who feel let down by banks determined to ignore the concerns of those most affected by their decisions while focussing all their attentions on big business.

“It is high time that changed, and I have written urgently to Mr Ross McEwan, Chief Executive of RBS urging him to think again.

“Given that RBS is 73 per cent owned by the taxpayer it is simply unacceptable for banks to continue treating customers as an inconvenient afterthought.”

Green MSP Ross Greer urged RBS to reconsider closing their Kilwinning branch in a Scottish Parliament motion at Holyrood last week.

The MSP for the West of Scotland said: “These proposals will hit staff and customers hard and I’m calling on RBS to change their mind.

“I’m especially concerned about the proposal for Kilwinning, as RBS is the last remaining bank in the town.

“A number of residents – some of them who were Clydesdale customers who switched to RBS so that they have a local bank – have contacted me with concerns about this.

“The post office and credit union are great, but if you want some services you’ll have to go to Irvine.”

Mr Greer said: “Kilwinning town centre needs support – there are empty buildings in the centre of town but the council are still giving the go-ahead to more out of town development.”

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