Battle to save bank not won yet, Melrose folk warned

The Royal Bank of Scotland branch in Melrose.
The Royal Bank of Scotland branch in Melrose.

The battle to save five Borders banks facing the axe might have been lost, following the closure of the first of them this week, but the fight to keep another branch open goes on.

Selkirk’s Royal Bank of Scotland branch shut on Monday, and it will be followed by those at Duns on Tuesday, June 5; Eyemouth on Monday, June 11; Hawick on Thursday, June 14; and Jedburgh on Monday, June 18.

Melrose’s RBS branch was originally scheduled to follow suit and shut its doors on Thursday, June 21, but it was one of 10 nationwide given a stay of execution in February.

Townsfolk are being warned that is only a temporary reprieve until the end of the year, though, and if customer footfall does not increase at the High Street bank over the next few months, its days will be numbered too.

That warning was issued at last week’s meeting of Melrose Community Council.

Council chairman William Windram said: “As we know, our RBS bank is still under threat of closure.

“If we wish the bank to continue, you must use it.

“I’d urge anyone, even if just withdrawing money, to actually go inside to the bank counter to do so.”

RBS bosses will carry out a review of custom at the Melrose branch at the end of the year to determine whether it is viable to remain open into 2019.

It was given a stay of execution because there are no other banks nearby.

Of the six branches in the Borders originally in line to be closed, only Melrose’s meets that criterion as it has been the sole bank there since the closure of its Bank of Scotland rival in Market Square in October 2016.

All five other towns in the Borders that RBS is pulling out of – Hawick, Jedburgh, Selkirk, Duns and Eyemouth – are home to Bank of Scotland branches.

Hawick and Jedburgh host another bank apiece besides their RBS and Bank of Scotland branches, a Santander in the former and TSB in the latter.