Customers urged to show support as time runs out to save Melrose bank

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

Melrose residents now have just over a month left to make a case for keeping the town’s Royal Bank of Scotland branch open.

A consultation being carried out by accountancy firm Johnston Carmichael will end at 5pm on Tuesday, August 14, and a decision will be made on the High Street bank’s fate the month after, it has been announced.

The branch was originally due to shut on Thursday, June 21, following the closure of five others in the Borders, but it was one of 10 nationwide given a reprieve in February until the end of the year.

Johnston Carmichael has set up a dedicated website, johnstoncarmichael.com/rbsbranchreview, and email address, RBSbranchreview@jcca.co.uk, to gather views on the bank’s importance to its community.

It is also offering 20-minute appointments at the branch on Friday, August 3, to customers wanting to have their say. To book an appointment, call 01224 259353.

RBS has agreed to be bound by the findings of Johnston Carmichael’s review and take whatever action is recommended.

Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk MP John Lamont is cautiously optimistic about the branch’s chances of survival after meeting Johnston Carmichael officials last week but only if Borderers show their support in sufficient numbers.

“I am disappointed that this review will be rushed through in just a few months because RBS took so long to appoint someone,” he said.

“However, after speaking with Johnston Carmichael directly, I am more confident that it isn’t a done deal.

“Now, residents and businesses who think the RBS branch is a vital service can get in touch with the review directly, via email or by writing to them.

“People will also be able to have face-to-face appointments at the Melrose branch.

“Alternatively, constituents can get in touch with myself, and I will gather together all the responses I receive.

“Hundreds of people turned up to my public meeting in Melrose about these closures. If that same level of opposition to the closures is made clear to the review, I am confident we have a really good chance of saving Melrose’s branch.”

Melrose’s RBS is the last bank in the town following the closure of its Bank of Scotland rival in Market Square in October 2016.