RBS closures: Ex banker’s bid to stop branch closures

Alistair Forsyth outside the earmarked RBS branch in Turriff.
Alistair Forsyth outside the earmarked RBS branch in Turriff.

A banker-turned-councillor is backing a north-east town’s bid to persuade his former bosses not to close its branch.

Alistair Forsyth said it would be a “serious loss” if RBS withdrew from Turriff – one of 18 locations in the north and north-east due to lose services.

There is growing anger at the decision by the bank to shut a total of 62 Scottish branches, with Holyrood and Westminster demanding answers.

Turriff Business Association (TBA) has launched a petition in a bid to force a U-turn.

And Mr Forsyth, who worked for the bank before being elected to represent the town in May, last night said he had joined the campaign.

“I’m supportive of that 100% – I think you’ve got to be,” he said. “Banks will do what banks do, and public opinion has never really saved them.

“However, you’ve got to keep trying because they have quite a big impact on the High Street. It would be a serious loss for the community and the area if it were to close.”

He has also signalled his intention to write to the bank personally and seek assurances about its employees’ jobs.

He added: “The news of these closures at this time of year may indeed add to the stresses that the festive season sometimes brings.

“I will be writing to the regional director, Martin Girvan, seeking assurances that arrangements are made to offer a comprehensive mobile service to customers in the areas affected and that details of these are publicised as soon as possible, as people need to make an informed choice about where and how to bank.

“I will also be asking for assurances that staff are well informed and that job losses are kept to a minimum.”

TBA chairwoman Marj Chalmers hopes to have hard copies of her group’s petition in local shops in the coming days.

The group is made up of about 60 businesses in the community from different sectors.

She said: “I am hoping it does make a difference, but if they have got a date set I don’t know if we will be able to change it.

“Turriff has a population of 7,000 but I don’t think we will get everyone to sign it.

“It is a thriving farming community and a lot of people here depend on the bank.

“I think there will be a real impact on the town, we don’t want the footfall to be affected and businesses closing.”