Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has hit out at the Royal Bank of Scotland for once again u-turning on the issue of whether the Isle of Barra will retain a cash machine after the summer of 2018.

Earlier this month, RBS announced that the Castlebay branch in the Isle of Barra would be closing from 2018 onwards and that this would also involve withdrawing the cash machine. The follow day, the MSP was given a categorical assurance from senior RBS personnel that this was an error, and that the cash machine would be retained following the branch closure.

This morning the MSP received a letter from RBS CEO of Personal and Business Banking Les Matheson in response to his concerns about the effect the branch closure would have on the island community. In this letter RBS state that “Regrettably, we won’t be retaining the ATM once the branch closes.”

Alasdair Allan MSP commented:

“This is an astonishing U-turn by RBS.

“In one part of their letter to me they say they will always consider what other banking services are available locally before closing a branch. Later in that same paragraph they say they will be removing their cash machine – the only one on the island.

“This is a serious problem that is not being taken seriously by the bank. There is an unclear picture of what banking services on the island will look like after next summer. At no point in their letter have they given any indication that they have considered the effect of this closure on an island community. They don’t seem to understand that the island will be left without any out of hours access to cash, which represents a real step backwards in terms of services.

“I have now asked RBS to clarify whether their latest announcement is an error or whether they really intend to press ahead with removing the ATM.

“People in Barra will rightly be asking why they should continue to use a bank that clearly does not care for them or their community.”

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