Councillors hope to buy RBS shares in bid to save north-east branches

RBS has closed several branches across the north and north-east of Scotland.
RBS has closed several branches across the north and north-east of Scotland.

Councillors battling to save two north-east banks are hoping to buy shares in RBS so they can put their case directly to the board.

Royal Bank of Scotland in Banff is due to close its doors in May and that would be followed by Turriff just a few weeks later.

The lender has blamed a drop in customers visiting the two branches and an increase in people using online banking over the last few years.

Campaigners in each town are fighting back and launched their own petitions against moves to shut them.

Now councillors hope to purchase shares so they can attend the annual general meeting at Royal Bank of Scotland’s Edinburgh headquarters later this year.

It would allow them to question CEO Ross McEwan and other board members directly about the proposals to mothball the facilities.

Banff and District SNP councillor Glen Reynolds said the move was aimed at making the views of people affected by the closures were heard.

He said: “I and colleagues that represent areas that are affected by the planned closures will aim to attend the RBS AGM in Edinburgh in May, by purchasing shares as necessary, and thereby to ask questions of the board about local branch closures.

“This is about giving the people of Banff and Turriff a voice.”

The idea has the backing of former Royal Bank of Scotland employee turned councillor Alastair Forsyth.

The Turriff and District representative used to work as a consultant and is backing a petition to save the town’s branch that was set up by Turriff Business Association.

He is also planning on joining Mr Reynolds at the bank’s Edinburgh base.

Mr Forsyth said: “I’m supporting my colleagues in seeking redress from the Royal Bank of Scotland.

“I intend to be present at the AGM in Edinburgh in May to voice my opposition to the wholesale closure of branches serving my local area and rural Scotland.

“As a supporter of the Turriff Business Association it is my intention to help represent their desire for a service from the bank.”

Banff and Buchan MP David Dugiud said he has held talks with senior figures about the proposed closures.

He said: “I and my North East colleagues have already met senior figures from the bank and we are determined to make sure that local banking does not become a distant memory.”

A Royal Bank of Scotland spokeswoman said they have taken the decision to close the branches in Banff and Turiff after an extensive review and careful consideration of local factors.