The shock news that two of the six Fife branches to be axed by RBS are in rural communities has been met with dismay.
The banking giant has announced that the Cupar and Anstruther branches are among those which will close their doors in October.
And MP Stephen Gethins, who represents North East Fife, has warned that the move will ‘hit the elderly and vulnerable hardest’.
RBS has blamed the upsurge in digital banking for the closures, which affect Kirkcaldy, Leven, Cowdenbeath and Dalgety Bay as well as Cupar and Anstruther.
They say the effects will be mitigated by the introduction of a mobile banking service in rural areas and an arrangement with the Post Office to provide services.
But Mr Gethins – who learned of the closures before the staff did – says the closures will be a ‘real blow’ to communities who rely on local banking services.
He said he has written to RBS to ask them to reconsider the decision.
“The loss of local banking facilities in North East Fife will hit the elderly and vulnerable hardest,” he said.
“This is a largely rural area and many people are dependent on these services. I know RBS has agreed with the Post Office that people can do their banking there but that’s far from ideal, especially in Leven were the proposed closure of the Clydesdale bank will also add to pressure on the town’s Post Office.
“The closure of the bank branch in Anstruther is also of great concern. The East Neuk is quite remote and many small businesses and the tourist industry is dependent on services being available locally. I’m also concerned about the impact of the Cupar branch closing. A lot of effort is being made to bring about improvements to Cupar town centre and this will not help at all.”
An RBS spokesman said that the way people choose to bank with us has changed radically over the last few years.
“Between 2010 and 2015, mobile and online transactions have increased by over 400 per cent and mobile transactions alone have increased by 1350 per cent,” he said.
“We are communicating with our customers affected by these closures and proactively contacting vulnerable and regular branch customers.”