A BANK taking the unpopular decision to close a village branch has been slammed for suggesting the service could be partly replaced with a “banking van” for an hour a week.
Community leaders have reacted angrily to an email from the Royal Bank of Scotland about the proposed closure of NatWest in Rhos.
The email from Michael Crow, of the bank’s communications department, to Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones, said a “mobile van branch” would stop in the village “for nearly an hour”a week after the branch closes on September 1.
In his email Mr Crow wrote: “We will also be introducing our mobile van branch which we have invested heavily in and which now has many more services than previously.
“The intention is for the van to stop in Rhos for nearly an hour, although we are still finalising the details. The van will service 11 new local communities which do not have branches although again we are still finalising the route.
“Customers will be able to deposit cash and withdraw money. They will also be able to check their balances and get statements. There will be iPads for people to bank online, business drop-off facilities and customer will be able to get limited advice on mortgages.”
Cllr Kevin Hughes, chairman of Rhos Community Council, said the proposal “beggars belief”.
“This is completely inadequate response,” he said. “RBS have not come back with any sort of solution. Their idea of a mobile van stopping in Rhos to offer limited services beggars belief.
“I will be seeking an urgent meeting between the bank management and myself and other local county councillors.”
An online petition aimed at showing the strength of feeling for saving the branch had 90 signatures by yesterday.
Mr Crow’s email was in response to correspondence from Ms Jones, who shared concerns about the closure.
He said: “Currently at the moment our customers are able to withdraw cash, check balances and pay bills free of charge. In the coming months (very soon) they will also be able to pay money in and businesses will be able to get coinage. I would be happy to arrange a call if you would like to discuss this with senior members of the bank.
“The relationship with the Post Office is one of the ways we will provide a personal service for customers, such as elderly people, in the area who do not want to bank online or on a mobile app”
Ms Jones said: “There are big concerns here. The woeful lack of consultation, the bank’s failure to inform us how many customers Rhos branch really has, and the fact RBS still won’t tell us when customers will be able to pay money into the post offices and when businesses will be able to get coinage.”
She said has tabled a question in Parliament to ask the Secretary of State for Business, Industry and Skills to make representations to RBS and subsidiaries for their services to be available at post offices.