The tourism villages of Beauly, Kyle and Tongue will suffer as a result of losing their RBS branches, the leader of Highland Council warned yesterday.
The bailed out bank confirmed at the weekend it would axe the Highland branches, alongside Inveraray in Argyll and Bute.
Further closures could be looming as the bank would only guarantee there would be no further reviews up to 2020.
RBS had granted a temporary reprieve for 10 branches in Scotland amid outrage at plans to close 62 throughout Scotland. But the only ones to be saved were Castlebay on Barra and Biggar in South Lanarkshire.
Margaret Davidson, the leader of Highland Council, said: “I would like to add my profound disappointment at the tin ear RBS has given to the many comments it has received.
“The three banks to be closed in the Highlands all rely on a local banking service. They are tourist villages and have many small and medium sized businesses who have many cash transactions. This will make business more difficult and inconvenient and hence costly for them all.
“In addition we all appreciate the poor service this will give to many people who do not use online banking and do not wish to. We have poor broadband provision in too many of our remote communities, and then to hear that their mobile banks do not all have access for the less abled and no shelter from the weather. Shame on them.
“Many of their customers in these towns have been loyal customers for RBS for many years. This is the way their loyalty is repaid.”
She argued that the Post Office service was not a “convenient replacement” for many businesses.
RBS Closures north and north-east
She added: “No one is saying banking is not changing, but this cull of banks is excessive, premature and thoughtless.
“It is for RBS convenience. How can you call travelling distance or queueing for cash depositing safe?
“This year – 10 years after the banking crash when RBS failure threatened the nation’s financial stability and in a year when they have shown a profit, this is what they do to repay many loyal customers.”
She said she would work with council officers to try to help matters in the local communities hit by the closures.
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RBS managing director Simon Watson said: “We know branches are important to many communities, but equally we know that fewer and fewer people are using them as more people bank online.
“In every case of a branch closing we are committed to providing the best possible range of banking alternatives, including mobile branches, banking in the local post office, community bankers and remote services such as telephone banking.”