Here to help – only until September

Thornton branch of RBS
Thornton branch of RBS

Two local communities are set to lose their branches of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) later this year.

It was announced last week that branches in Markinch and Thornton will be closing their doors to the public on September 5.

The bank said the decision has been taken following a significant drop in the number of regular users since 2011. Both branches have seen this figure drop by nearly a quarter.

The Markinch branch is open for nearly 14 hours a week and RBS say that only eight customers use it regularly on a weekly basis. While in Thornton, the branch is open for eight hours with 19 regular customers.

The news has been met with disappointment locally.

Markinch councillor John Beare, who lives opposite the branch, said: “Several members of the local community have expressed to me their surprise and disappointment at the closure of the branch in Markinch and I share that disappointment.

“While I understand that many of us now use online banking and smart phone apps to use banking services, my concern is those for whom access to digital banking is a difficulty, particularly the older members of the community and for those who don’t have regular access to transport.

“The RBS ATM is the only cash machine in Markinch that is available after 10.00 p.m. and I have already raised the issue of retaining the ATM at its current location or at a location nearby, with the RBS.”

Ian Sloan, Thornton councillor, said: “I am very disappointed to hear of the announcement as it is important that our smaller communities continue to have as wide a range of services as possible. When a village like Thornton loses its only bank the community loses an asset which has been available for a very long time.

“It is sad that the Royal Bank of Scotland branch is no longer viable. I feel sorry for the people who did use the face to face banking facilities of the local branch, as they will now have to travel to find the human face of banking.”

A spokesman for RBS said a number of measures are being put in place, including arrangements with the post offices to allow customers to complete some services free of charge. She added that staff have been advised and customers will be written to and advised of the different banking options.