Highlands & Islands

RBS to reduce mobile bank visiting times

RBS bank card Image copyright RBS

The Royal Bank of Scotland has been accused of spreading its mobile bank service in the Highlands "too thinly" to cover branch closures.

A new timetable for the service to start from 21 May includes more locations, but shorter weekly visits for some locations.

Stops in Kingussie will be cut from 45 minutes to 20 and in Boat of Garten from 30 minutes to 15.

The bank said it would review the mobile bank timetables regularly.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has criticised the changes.

In January, the bank told Westminster's Scottish Affairs Committee that it would invest in its mobile banking fleet.

Colin Borland, FSB's head of devolved nations, said RBS made an argument that the impact of Scottish branch closures would be mitigated by "smart" ATMs and mobile van bank services.

But he said that it now appeared to be that because more branches were closing mobile van services would be "spread even more thinly - making it harder for local businesses and consumers to access banking services".

Mr Borland said: "RBS looks again like it is trying to cut services that customers find valuable.

"This move also seems to clash with evidence RBS chiefs gave to MPs in January, where they talked up investment in their mobile bank fleet.

"It wouldn't surprise me if MPs on the Scottish Affairs Committee will be keen to get to the bottom of this when they take evidence from RBS chief, Ross McEwan, next month."

A Royal Bank of Scotland spokesperson said: "Our customers have many different ways to bank with us. These mobile branch routes can be a lifeline for communities that have never had access to a bank; some are taking on new stops where, unfortunately, an existing branch will be closing.

"Our staff and Community Bankers will be on hand to demonstrate the services available through our mobile branches when the new routes start.

"We welcome feedback on how these services are running, and have already committed to reviewing these timetables on a monthly basis."

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