Stonehaven bank to close

Royal Bank of Scotland
Royal Bank of Scotland

The Royal Bank of Scotland has announced that it will close its Stonehaven branch later this year.

The Stonehaven branch will close on October 2.

A spokesperson for the bank said: "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% and mobile transactions alone have increased by 1,350%.

"Since 2011 we have seen the number of transactions in the Stonehaven branch decline by 30%. These customers are actively choosing to bank in different ways, with 66.6% of customers choosing to use our digital banking options."

The bank is communicating with its customers affected by the closure and proactively contacting vulnerable and regular branch customers.

The spokesperson added: "We have listened closely to feedback from local communities and have extended the time between announcing our decision and the branch closure to six months. This has been done in order to ensure our customers have time to consider the right banking options for them.

"We know that not all of our customers are comfortable and familiar with using online or mobile banking, so we have created a new specialist taskforce of Digital Experts who will be dedicated to supporting our customers with training and support with digital skills.

"We are following the Access to Banking protocol and we have made the decision after careful consideration of a wide range of factors, including regular branch usage and the alternative ways our customers can bank with us. We provide a range of alternative ways to bank, tailored to the needs of our customers and reflective of the way they live their lives."

Mairi Evans MSP has hit out at the Royal Bank of Scotland’s decision to shut down their branch at Stonehaven – just months after Clydesdale Bank took the same decision.

The bank will retain an ATM in Stonehaven and have promised to consult with the community on the implementation of a mobile branch service.

But Ms Evans, who represents Angus North and Mearns, believes the double closure will hit Stonehaven hard.

She said: “Once again, Stonehaven and our rural communities have been badly let down by the banks.

“It seems a lot of banks are following through with an agenda of centralisation whilst pushing people towards internet banking.

“This is all good and well for either those who don’t live rurally and have good transport links or those who are both adept at using technology and have reliable broadband.

“However, while I am pleased that the Royal Bank are committing to a mobile bank service and retaining an ATM, I can’t believe Stonehaven has been targeted again for a bank closure.

“The Royal Bank have promised to consult on how best to retain an ATM and to implement a mobile branch service but I do wonder if it may have made sense to consult with the wider community prior to this decision.

“One bank is already closing and they may have had an opportunity to entice new customers who want to continue to bank locally.

"In the space of six months, 50% of the town’s bank will close their doors and I have written to the Royal Bank to ask them firstly to reconsider, and secondly – if they won’t alter their decision – to detail exactly how they propose consulting with their customers.”