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The axe hovers over Inveraray’s Royal Bank of Scotland branch – but there is still a short time for the public to have a say over whether the blade falls.
Along with nine other rural branches, Inveraray was given a stay of execution earlier this year – but if the figures do not stack up by December 2018 the bustling tourist town will be left with no bank to serve residents, businesses or visitors.
The company appointed by RBS to review the 10 branches temporarily saved – while 52 others closed across Scotland closed – is accountancy firm Johnston Carmichael.
Mid Argyll writer and journalist Marian Pallister kicked off a petition when news of the planned closure broke in December last year. On Wednesday August 8 she presented the document, with 743 signatures, to Johnston Carmichael representatives in Inveraray.
Speaking after her meeting with Johnston Carmichael, Marian Pallister said: ‘The petition was accepted as “helpful” and we can now only hope that when this company has seen how things are on the ground in the various rural situations where RBS intends closure, that minds will be changed.’
Inveraray hotelier Donald Clark also spoke to Johnston Carmichael’s people during their Inveraray visit and discussed a range of issues. But it boils down, he said, to one thing: ‘RBS has a social responsibility and they are abdicating that responsibility in proposing to close the Inveraray branch.’
Argyll and Bute MP Brendan O’Hara questioned the customer usage figures used by RBS to justify the closure proposals, adding: ‘We have to remember that many people rely on face-to-face dealings with their bank; businesses with cash to deposit, the elderly, those with learning difficulties and those with no access to online banking facilities at all.’
A Johnston Carmichael spokesperson said: ‘We will be reviewing the usage of each branch on its own merits and then providing RBS with a recommendation on whether we consider each branch should remain open or be closed.’
Have your say on the importance of Inveraray RBS branch by the final deadline of Tuesday August 14.
The RBS review team, Johnston Carmichael LLP, 29 Albyn Place, Aberdeen AB101YL
or complete a questionnaire at www.jcca.co.uk/rbsbranchreview
or email firstname.lastname@example.org