The RBS has been slammed for reducing opening hours at its only branch in Uist.
The partial closure will see the Lochboisdale bank operating just on Mondays.
Ironically, the reduced hours are to provide a mobile van service for Barra which
is losing its only bank under RBS cutbacks.
The Lochboisdale branch is presently open on four days but this will be reduced to
six hours on a Monday.
The changes are due to start in June.
Instead, the mobile van service will be extended across the Uist chain of islands
- from Berneray to Eriskay - to compensate for the downgrading of the branch.
A RBS spokesman said: “We will be making some adjustments to the Lochboisdale branch
opening hours in May next year.
“This is being done in order to offer a more proactive service to customers who live
across North Uist, South Uist, Benbecula and Barra - so that we can serve them in
their local communities, rather than only in the branch.
The current Lochboisdale branch is open four days a week, between 10am and 4pm.
“From May 2018, we intend to alter the timetable, deploying staff in both the branch
and on mobile branch routes across the four islands.
“The branch in Lochboisdale will be open on Mondays.
“On Tuesdays, staff will travel to Barra – they will also do this on Thursdays.
“On Wednesdays and Fridays, over the course of the two days, staff will visit Benbecula,
North Uist and South Uist, making multiple stops on the islands.”
Western Isles MP Angus Macneil slammed the latest cuts as an “ill-conceived plan
which has not been thought through.”
He urged people to sign a petition circulating in all constituencies affected by
Mr Macneil said: “I encourage all constituents to sign this and make their view on
this closure clear to RBS. I will be delivering the petition to the House of Commons
in early January.”
He highlighted RBS initially said Castlebay customers could go to Lochboisdale but
“it turns out now that this will be closed half the time and searching for a bank
van across the countryside is not realistic at all.”
He added: ““Servicing Barra from South Uist is not sensible and will be subject to
weather conditions, availability of ferries and of course will be placing an increasing
burden on the remaining staff.
“RBS say that they will be informing customers – why not consult with customers who
are also taxpayers and therefore shareholders in this largely government owned Bank.
“This is not good enough and again I am calling on the government to intervene.
“Collectively, we own RBS. Above all else, RBS was saved to provide banking services
to our communities.
“It’s time for the government to take action.”
RBS criticised for downgrading Lochboisdale bank service