Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan and local SNP Councillor Donald Manford have hit out at the decision by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to close their branch in Castlebay, Isle of Barra.
The bank announced this morning (Friday) that the branch would close on June 14th 2018.
The RBS branch is Barra’s only bank and it hosts the only ATM on the island.
The local MSP has written to RBS to ask that they reconsider their decision.
Alasdair Allan commented: “This decision is going to cause real problems for people in Barra, particularly the elderly and the more vulnerable.
“It is bad enough that people in Barra and Vatersay will be unable to have face-to-face contact with their bank, other than by possible occasional visits by a mobile van, but RBS also seem to be saying they will be withdrawing their cash machine, the only one on the island.
“It shows the depth of RBS’s lack of understanding of island circumstances that their email announcing the branch closure stated there are still ‘a number of free to use cash machines in your area’, before listing cash machines some 27 miles away in South Uist, which people in Barra would have to take a ferry to use.
“People have come to expect that it’s possible in the modern world to get cash after 5pm, so this move represents a significant diminution in the services available to the public in Barra.
“RBS is 73% owned by the UK taxpayer, yet they seem to have taken no account of the public or common good in reaching this decision. I have urged the Bank to take stock of the devastating impact this could have and commit to keeping the branch open.”
Barraigh, Bhatarsaigh, Eiriosgaigh agus Uibhist a Deas Councillor Donald Manford added: “This shocking announcement will have considerable implications for the financial provision of the island.
“There has been no indication that this was under consideration and it is completely unacceptable that a bank largely owned by the UK taxpayer can behave in such a manner.
“I call on the Royal Bank of Scotland engage immediately with their island customers and businesses to find a way to ensure that the island isn’t deprived of essential financial services.”