I received the following message from the RBS about the closure of their branch in Fairmilehead.

I’m sorry to come to you with this news, but we have taken the difficult decision to close the RBS Fairmilehead branch on the 26th October 2015. Our local team have been informed but you are receiving this information 24 hours before the public announcement, so I would ask that you treat this information as embargoed until 09:00 on 30th July 2015.

As you would expect we will ensure there are a range alternatives for people in the area to continue to bank with us including:

  • Post Office: We have reached an agreement with the local Post Office, which is 0.6 miles away from the branch so that our customers can check their balance, deposit and withdraw funds, and business customers can get coinage.• There are 5 Post Offices within 2 miles of the branch.•••

  • ATMs: There are 4 free to use ATMs within 1 mile of the branch.

  • Other branches: We have a strong branch representation in the local area, there are 5 other branches within 4 miles.• Our nearest branch, Edinburgh Comiston, is 1.8 miles away. We have also invested around £250,000 in our Bruntsfield branch, which as you know is around 2.5 miles away.

The number of transactions taking place at our Fairmilehead branch has dropped by 15% since 2011 and only 31 customers use the branch on a regular weekly basis. 18 of these customers already use other branches in the area.•

Customer communication

We are writing to all of our customers who use the branch well in advance of the closure date, and will also display posters in the branch throughout this period of time.• We will work hard to engage with all of our customers, local businesses and the wider local community between now and the closure date to ensure they are aware of the alternative ways of accessing their banking with us in the local area, and to answer any questions they might have.•

We are committed to following the UK Government protocol on branch closures, and we have made the decision following careful consideration of a wide range of factors including branch usage and the alternative ways our customers can bank with us locally.•

New ways of banking -; changing customer trends

There are now more ways of banking with us than ever before, and as a result our customers are increasingly using alternative ways of banking with us.• Across our network, branch transactions have declined by around 36% since 2010 whilst online and mobile transactions have grown by more than 300%, and only 9% of our total transactions are now undertaken in our branches in comparison to 25% in 2010.• Thedecision to close a branch is never taken lightly, but we have to respond to these changes.•

We do understand that some people do not want to use our online or mobile phone facilities and would prefer face to face banking.• Our branch network will remain the cornerstone of our service to customers and we will continue to have the second largest branch network in the UK.• We also have the largest Mobile Bank fleet in the UK, and we have invested heavily in providing banking services in the 11,500 Post Office outlets.• 80% of our customers in the UK are within 3 miles of a RBS/NatWest branch and if Post Office branches are included 90% of our customers are within one mile of somewhere they can do their banking face to face.• In addition to this, we have the largest free to use ATM network in the UK.

Investment in customer service

We are investing over £1bn over the next few years to give customers greater choice in how they bank with us, such as improving our online and mobile banking. As part of this, we are investing £231m in 2015 alone to upgrade nearly 500 branches across the UK.

I hope I have managed to explain the reasons for the closure and the mitigating actions that we are taking.

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