New plans to roll out a mobile banking service to north-east towns affected by RBS branch closures were branded a “slap in the face” yesterday.
The van, which currently tours round areas with limited bank facilities, will extent its route to take in Turriff, Ellon and Dyce.
It will visit each community for 45 minutes providing a weekly service to residents.
However, Ellon and district councillor Richard Thomson is shocked by the proposed schedule and hit out at the RBS plans to park the van at the Park and Ride facility which is more than a mile away from the town centre.
He said: “It’s bad enough that RBS is looking to close the Ellon branch.
“However, if RBS managers think sending a mobile bank once a week to the outskirts of town for just three quarters of an hour is sufficient to serve their customers in Ellon and the surrounding area they are sorely mistaken.
“Having a physical branch is vitally important for cash handling customers as well as for people to be able to meet bank staff to get advice. A mobile bank doesn’t provide either the privacy, the frequency or in many cases the accessibility that customers, particularly the elderly, need.
“Mobile banks used to be a way of providing a service in extremely rural areas such as the Highlands and Islands as an ‘outreach’ service where there was no prospect of ever being able to provide a viable branch. It speaks volumes that RBS appears to think that a growing town like Ellon now falls into the same category.
“Frankly, it represents a real slap in the face for the town as well for as the principle of local, community banking.”
The RBS van will continue to serve communities in Westhill, Stonehaven, Peterculter, Banchory, Aboyne and Ballater.
It will also still be available to residents in Tarland, Insch and Kemnay when the new service is rolled out in May.
Geva Blackett said the 20 minute slot scheduled for Ballater was “pointless”. She added: “With our ageing population and increasing tourist numbers, we need a better service.
“A lot of the people still like to sit down and discuss problems with finances and are not online.”
Stonehaven residents complained last year that they needed longer timeslots and community councillor Phil Mills-Bishop described the arrangements as being “totally inadequate”.
A Royal Bank of Scotland spokesman said: “We review our mobile branch network on a regular basis and the changes being made reflect the changing ways in which our customers are banking with us.
“In addition to our mobile branch service, our customers can also use the Post Office for their everyday banking.”