By VIVIENNE NICOLL
The Royal Bank of Scotland has been accused of deserting its customers following an announcement it is to close three city branches.
The bank - which is part owned by the taxpayer - has announced it is to shut its branches at Possilpark, Maryhill and Cambuslang in August claiming a fall in the number of customers.
But Glasgow SNP MSP Bob Doris is raising the closure plan in Holyrood and demanding a meeting with the banks in a bid to persuade bosses to change their minds.
The RBS says only 94 customers use the Possilpark branch on a regular weekly basis. There are similar problems at Maryhill which has only 73 regular customers and and Cambuslang which has 79 regulars.
Possilpark will close on August 9, Maryhill on August 17 and Cambuslang the following day.
In a letter to Mr Doris the bank said: “We are writing to our customers who use the branches, as well as displaying posters in each branch to let them know of the closures.
“Between now and the closure dates, we will engage with our customers, local businesses and the local communities to make sure they are aware of the alternative ways of accessing their banking in the local area and to answer any questions they might have.
“There are more ways of banking with us than ever before and our customers are increasingly choosing to use different ways to bank for their simple transactions.”
But Mr Doris is asking the Scottish Parliament to call on RBS to reverse its decision to close the branches.
His motion says the branches are in areas where there is a need to improve financial inclusion and where many vulnerable residents would struggle to access alternative banks or digital banking.
The MSP said: “I don’t think customer numbers properly reflect the needs and demands for banking facilities in two of the most deprived parts of my constituency.
“The RBS in Possilpark is in a landmark building which has a key role to play in the regeneration of the area but it appears they are looking at numbers on a balance sheet and failing a number of vulnerable communities.
“The taxpayer stood beside RBS when they were in difficulties and the least we can expect is them to stand beside our communities in similar difficult times. This issue is about some of the most vulnerable communities in Scotland being able to access their bank.
“It is about building up communities and not signposting them to go elsewhere.”
Mr Doris claimed there was no consultation over the closure plan and as a result he has asked for an urgent meeting with bank bosses.
Gillian Britton, chairwoman of Maryhill and Summerston community council, also hit out at the branch closures.
She said: “I am shocked given there has been no community or public consultation that we are aware of.
“The RBS is providing a service in an area which is economically deprived and people in Maryhill don’t necessarily have access to internet banking.
“There is no direct bus route to the nearest branch so to get there you have to take the train.
“Maryhill suffers enough without having something else taken out of the area.”