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At last night’s meeting of Campbeltown Community Council the matter of the imminent closure of the town’s Royal Bank of Scotland branch was discussed at length.
There was unanimous agreement that this proposed closure should be stopped and that we write to RBS expressing our concerns.
The closure of 62 branches across Scotland will detrimentally affect many rural areas but there are Campbeltown specific local issues:
Campbeltown and surrounding Kintyre is a very isolated community with a declining population.
However, local people are very resilient and there have been business developments over the past few years trying to redress this and attract inward investment.
These have included the creation of Machrihanish Airbase Community Company which has developed a business park, Southworth Developments which built a beautiful new golf course and transformed two hotels, the expansion of Springbank and Glen Scotia Distilleries.
Campbeltown is becoming a very popular tourist destination for whisky lovers and golfers.
The closure of this bank will have a huge impact on both personal and business customers who have built up very positive, trusting relationships with the three bank staff over the years.
Face to face banking can never be replaced by telephone, internet communications, community bankers, whatever they might be or mobile banking services.
It would appear that those making decisions about RBS branch closures do not really know where Campbeltown is as its website states the nearest branches are in Brodick, 47.5 miles and Dunoon 70 miles.
These journeys would both require taking ferries and a visit to Brodick RBS on the Isle of Arran would incur the extra cost of an overnight stay as there is only one sailing per day from October to March.
Dunoon can be reached by road without a ferry journey, but this would involve a round trip of 234 miles.
How can RBS get it so wrong?
It would seem that decisions are being made based on erroneous information and the RBS doesn’t really care about rurally, isolated communities such as ours.
The nearest branch to Campbeltown, as I am sure RBS is aware, is Oban 87 miles.
To get to Oban and back using the only method of public transport available would involve leaving Campbeltown at 11.30am, returning home at 21.40pm, catching four buses taking seven hours 15 minutes with two hours 55 minutes in Oban.
Does RBS think is a reasonable alternative?
Campbeltown Community Council members certainly do not and if RBS values its customers, the decision taken to close the Campbeltown branch of RBS will be reversed.
Campbeltown Community Council.