Saturday, 4 February 2012

Dissatisfied with bank's response over Student Branch closure

Following my writing to Royal Bank of Scotland last month following concerns about possible closure of the student branch at Balfour Street, I've expressed disappointment at a response I have received from the bank to reject calls to think again over the proposed closure of its branch at the university’s student union.    

The response I have received from Jeffrey Hartley, RBoS’s Head of Group Customer Relations, confirms the branch is indeed earmarked for closure and it appears the Royal Bank is adamant that it will not reprieve the well-used branch.   

In his letter Mr Hartley says :

“I acknowledge that any news about a branch closure will be unwelcome, but I can assure you that this is not a decision which we take lightly.  As we look to rebuild a sustainable bank, we must ensure that our branches are open where and when our customers want to use them.  Regrettably, the Dundee University branch is not used to the same extent as the other branches in the area, and the branch has seen a substantial decline in usage over the last few years.

RBS will maintain a presence in the local area, with our nearby branches on Dundee High Street and Perth Road continuing to offer a full banking service.  Each of these branches if within one mile of the University.  Additionally, customers can use our online, telephone and Smartphone banking services 24 hours a day.

Over the course of 2011, we came to an agreement with the Post Office which allows our customers to use their systems.  Both personal and business customers can now use their debit cards to carry out balance enquiries and cash withdrawals at their local Post Office branch.”

There’s a certain sense of irony in that response from the bank as they suggest using local Post Offices.    The Nethergate Post Office, very close to the university campus, was closed by Post Office Limited in 2008.

The decision to close the bank branch at the Student Union is really detrimental to the University of Dundee’s students and staff.   Its been a hugely busy branch over the years and it comes on top of the decision to close the Ninewells Hospital branch and the Lochee branch last year.

Despite being largely in public ownership, the bank doesn’t seem much bothered about the public, the customers who rely on local branches.    Coming in the wake of the furore over bankers’ bonuses, I don’t half feel the Royal Bank of Scotland, despite being over 80% in public ownership, is totally out of touch with public opinion.

I have written back to Royal Bank of Scotland criticising the decision and also seeking an assurance that the bank will at least keep the much-used RBoS ATM at the Student Union.