The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has announced that they are to close six branches in the Scottish Borders.
The banks in Hawick, Selkirk, Jedburgh, Duns, Eyemouth and Melrose are expected to close in 6 months. Between 25 and 30 staff, who have already been informed, are thought to be affected.
The move means that in the last few years, RBS will have closed nine of its branches in the Scottish Borders, with only Kelso, Galashiels or Peebles remaining open. Hawick residents will now face a 40 mile round trip to visit their bank and those living in Duns will have to travel 30 miles to Berwick and back.
RBS has said the closures are being implemented because of a fall in transactions at local branches.
Three years ago, the bank also shut its branches in Chirnside, Greenlaw and Newtown St Boswells. The closures also come after the Bank of Scotland announced this year that branches in Coldstream, Lauder, West Linton and Newtown St Boswells were closing.
Local Conservative politicians have expressed their disappointment with the news and called on the bank to do all it can to support customers and staff.
John Lamont MP said: “I’ve spoken to senior management to express my deep disappointment about this news. It is hard not to come to the conclusion that RBS simply does not care about its customers in rural Scotland. Alongside other Conservative MPs, I will be meeting senior RBS Executives early next week to discuss how this will impact on our communities.
“We’ve now had nine RBS branches close in recent years and many people will be asking when this will stop. These plans effectively mean RBS is set to withdraw from the Scottish Borders.
“While we all accept that with internet and telephone banking, branch use has declined, I don’t believe the banks understand fully that many elderly and vulnerable people want to do their banking face to face. And many local businesses who handle cash need their local branch.
“Despite my protests, RBS do not look likely to reverse this decision, so the focus now needs to be on supporting customers and staff. I have sought a commitment from RBS that mobile branches will be rolled out in all six towns at the very least.”