MSP Joan McAlpine has said the strength of feeling against bank closures in the region was clear, after a day of action with activists in Langholm, Annan and Lockerbie.
The MSP joined up with local SNP members to collect hundreds of signatures across all three towns, calling for a halt to the closures.
The MSP was also angry to learn Westsound News had discovered RBS plans to take away its cash machines from Annan – despite citing the ability to access cash machines as one of the reasons behind closures.
Ms McAlpine said:
“The strength of feeling against these closures was very clear just chatting to people. Many talked about how they used the bank regularly, and the fact that there were always queues in the branches.
“Business owners talked about the difficulty of banking cheques if they are not able to pop into a branch locally.
“I was also appalled to learn that RBS has submitted plans to take away its cash machines in Annan – one of the reasons they’ve given for closing the banks is people will still be able to access cash machines.
“We know that machines run by independent companies often charge people for taking out their own money whereas at your own bank you don’t pay a fee so this is just an abdication of responsibility.”
Ms McAlpine has been a vocal opponent of the closures – raising the issue in parliament and putting pressure on RBS bosses.
Sustained pressure from SNP MPs and MSPs led to RBS offering a reprieve to the closure threatened Gretna branch, and 9 more across the country – promising to keep them open until at least the end of the year.
But Ms McAlpine said that all branches across the region should be kept open – and not just granted a temporary reprieve.
She has called on Secretary of State for Scotland, and MP for Dumfriesshire David Mundell to step in.
Ms McAlpine said:
“RBS uses images of rural Scotland to promote the bank as a brand in its adverts and yet they’re treating the people who live here in rural Scotland appallingly.”
“On Saturday I spoke with many older people who aren’t happy about using the internet to do banking, with many having moved bank already. Some said they had been loyal to the bank for over 50 years and they feel completely let down.
“One of the things people couldn’t believe that RBS are planning to do is shut banks not only in their own town, but also in the two nearest towns.
“RBS need to think again, and Mr Mundell needs to understand that he is a member of cabinet in the government that owns this bank – it is time for him to step in and do something about this.”
Following Saturday’s day of action, Ms McAlpine will get back in touch with RBS bosses to highlight the strength of feeling locally.
The Scottish Parliament’s Economy Committee has launched an inquiry into bank closures. It closes on the 13th of April. You can submit your views here:http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/107957.aspx