The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has announced that they will be closing nine of their branches across the city which includes their branch in Portobello.
In letters sent to customers, RBS explains that due to the increase of digital and mobile services, the number of people visiting their branches is falling. Due to this they have decided to close branches across Edinburgh, including Portobello which will close on Monday 12 June 2017.
The bank has assured customers that their banking arrangements, including their account number, sort code and direct debits will remain the same. Future documents from the bank will quote the home branch as Musselburgh Bridge Street, 12 Bridge Street, Musselburgh, EH21 6AH.
RBS has also stated that they will be making their customers aware that they can bank in the comfort of their own home using online and mobile banking services. They also said that the staff in one of their branches would be able to help show you how the online and mobile services work.
Tommy Sheppard, MP for Edinburgh East told us: “I was saddened this week to be informed of yet more high street banks closing in the constituency. I am not just concerned that people who are not able to use the internet will struggle to access banking services, I also have a real sense that our communities are being eroded.
“My office is next to a now-closed bank. When it was open we were able to help lots of people who popped in with a problem, because they happened to be going to the bank next door. People who might otherwise not have thought to go their MP but who took a chance as they were passing.
“The same goes for high street shops who are struggling to compete with the internet and out-of-town shopping centres. People need to go to the bank but then end up using other services nearby. Banks keep high streets busy and give other, smaller shops a chance.
“We know it is easy for people, as they get older, to become isolated. When people don’t have a place of work to go to, kids to pick up from school or regular activities, a visit to the bank can become a key part of their weekly routine. More importantly the social interactions that stem from it can be vital to keeping them connected to their community.
“And not only does forcing people to do internet banking mean they don’t have to leave the house, it also means that many people are much more vulnerable to fraud and scams. If you are not a regular internet user you will be far less likely to notice if a request for information is made in an unusual way. And people without access to the internet are, generally speaking, people who are much more likely to be financially marginalised. Not being able to properly arrange and access finances can have a potentially devastating impact.
“The last time RBS got in contact to inform me the Craigentinny branch was closing, just six months ago, they told me not to worry because the Portobello branch was only 1.3 miles always. Now I’m being told the Portobello branch is closing but not to worry because Musselburgh is only 2.36 miles away. Is the Musselburgh branch going to close in another six months’ time? Surely they have a long term strategic plan? I just hope that plan isn’t announcing a few extra closures every six months until we have no high street banks at all.
“With RBS in particular the social contract they have with us, the tax payers, should be recognised. A bank which could only continue to exist because of the largesse of the tax payer should be giving high priority to doing public good.”
The nine branches that RBS have proposed to close are Juniper Green, Davidson Mains, Portobello, Castle Street, Chesser, Gilmerton, Comiston, Edinburgh University and Blenheim Place.