A CHARITY has slammed the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and is calling for a shake-up of the banking system after the decision to close their branches in Cumnock and Mauchline.
Age Scotland are seriously concerned for disabled people’s ability to bank in Cumnock and Doon Valley after it emerged RBS’s mobile banking van does not have disabled access.
The call comes in the wake of the story of Sandra Borthwick, whose local RBS branch in Dalmellington was closed.
The mobile vans do not have ramps, and as a wheelchair user, Sandra is unable to access the bank.
She is made to wait in a car park, until the queue in the van has cleared before being served by bank staff, in the car park.
An RBS customer in Cumnock who wants to do their banking in a bank and not a mobile branch, or who wants to do their banking on a day when the mobile van is not visiting, will now have to travel to Ayr or Kilmarnock.
Keith Robson, Age Scotland chief executive, said: “The service that Sandra has been shown by the Royal Bank of Scotland, has been found wanting. As banks have closed local branches they have cut off people who are not able to use internet banking. To then make the mobile bank vans inaccessible to people with mobility issues is a further step away from their claim to be Scotland’s most helpful bank.
“We’re urging Scotland’s banks to think outside the box and work together to mitigate the negative impacts of local bank closures. The fact that many of them are closing down will disadvantage many older people.
“Joint bank branches, for example, would allow people to continue banking face to face in areas with low footfall, where individually branded branches are deemed unsustainable.”
The banks in Cumnock and Mauchline continue to be well used, with a drop in transactions over the last six years of less than 10 per cent.
Almost half of RBS customers in Cumnock and Doon Valley don’t use online or mobile banking.
Cumnock MSP Jeane Freeman added: “I’m delighted that an important campaigning organisation like Age Scotland is adding its voice to the calls for the Royal Bank of Scotland to treat its customers with the dignity and respect they deserve.
"The ongoing bank closures in my constituency mean that it will be more difficult for older and frail customers to use the banking services they need. The Royal Bank of Scotland need to come up with a better solution than mobile banks which are inaccessible.”
Age Scotland is urging RBS to review their operations to ensure respect and high quality customer service is given to all customers.
The charity is proposing banks work together to mitigate the negative effects of bank closures. They have suggested that banks consider joint branches, smart ATM’s, where customers can talk to an advisor, and improved mobile services.