Small businesses in Fife could suffer from further bank closures in towns and villages across the region.
That’s the warning from the Federation of Small Businesses in the wake of today’s announcement of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s plans to close branches in Anstruther, Cowdenbeath, Cupar, Dalgety Bay, Leven and Kirkcaldy High Street in October.
Gordon Henderson, senior development manager for FSB in Fife, said: “These closures come at a time when small firms across Scotland are already struggling to access banking services.
“Increased reliance on limited Post Office facilities and poor broadband connectivity have seriously impacted the ability of small businesses to bank effectively.
“This hurts their productivity, their profitability, and ultimately, the local economy.
“Small businesses in areas popular with tourists like the East Neuk will be badly hit by these closures. They tend to handle more cash than most, so rely on branches for deposits.
“With the Anstruther, Cupar and Leven branches all closing, cash handling business owners will find themselves driving long distances in order to bank their takings.
“This presents both a personal security risk and takes them away from their businesses for long periods of time, thus harming their productivity.”
Meanwhile Roger Mullin, Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP has said he will be asking for talks with bank representatives to discuss the planned closures.
“I am deeply dismayed by the news that the Royal Bank of Scotland has taken the decision to close three branches within my constituency,” he said.
“Although I understand that there is now greater reliance on online and telephone banking, there remains a great many people in my constituency who do not have access to, or knowledge of, digital technology.
“The Royal Bank of Scotland has already faced a number of scandals recently, including the alleged mistreatment of small businesses, and the involvement in money laundering of criminal funds from former Soviet Union countries; to be announcing extensive branch closures at the same time is simply unacceptable.
“This news will undoubtedly have a detrimental effect on my constituents, and I will be speaking with representatives from RBS to discuss the matter.”