The Royal Bank of Scotland has announced plans to cut its mobile banking service in the Borders ahead of the closure of five of its nine branches here this summer.
Lauder and St Boswells are among eight Borders towns and villages set to lose their weekly RBS mobile bank visits at the end of April.
The others are Coldstream, Paxton, Allanton, Foulden, Leitholm and Swinton.
Another two Berwickshire villages currently being visited twice a week by RBS, Chirnside and Ayton, will have those Tuesday and Thursday services withdrawn.
Newtown, Earlston and Greenlaw will have their visits cut from two a week to one.
This latest blow follows the closure of Newtown, Chirnside and Greenlaw’s RBS branches in June 2014.
Altogether, the number of stops made by the mobile banking service operated from Haddington in East Lothian will be cut from 33 a week to 24.
Mobile bank visits to Hawick, Selkirk, Duns, Jedburgh, Eyemouth and Earlston are included in the new timetable, dashing campaigners’ hopes of a rethink by RBS bosses of their controversial plans to close their branches there.
Melrose is included in the new itinerary too despite its branch, originally earmarked to shut in June, having been given a stay of execution until the end of the year.
It has been allotted a half-hour slot on Monday mornings.
Selkirk, in line to lose its RBS branch in May, is to have it replaced by a half-hour stop-off once a week, on Monday afternoons.
Jedburgh, set to see its RBS branch shut in June, will have to make do with a 35-minute session once a week.
Hawick, also facing losing its RBS in June, is in line for a once-weekly 45-minute visit.
The five Borders banks facing the axe are among 52 nationwide being shut by RBS this year, 10 of the original 62 having been given a reprieve.
Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk MP John Lamont has written to RBS bosses urging them to reconsider its planned cuts to its mobile service, and he said: “I am incredibly angry about these proposals.
“Despite being repeatedly told by RBS bosses at the Scottish affairs committee and at other meetings that mobile banking services would be increased, the bank has done the exact opposite.
“A huge number of communities across the Borders are set to lose the only access they have to face-to-face banking, on top of the closure of their nearest branch.
“This new timetable is completely ill judged. It includes a 20-minute stop once a week in Greenlaw, which is so short it is nearly useless.
“It also involves the mobile branch travelling through Chirnside on its way from Duns to Eyemouth but not stopping there.
“Most of East Berwickshire will have its service removed in order to give the mobile branch a half-day on a Tuesday.
“It is also hugely disappointing to see that mobile services are already being announced for towns where the campaign to save the local branch is still going on.”
The current mobile bank timetable can be found at personal.rbs.co.uk/personal/ways-to-bank/mobile-branch/haddington.html
An RBS spokesperson said: “Our mobile branch network of 21 mobile branches visits 440 communities across Scotland each week.
“We look to serve towns and villages that have lost a Royal Bank of Scotland branch and need this service but also to serve towns that have never had a branch.
“We regularly review our routes based on customer usage to ensure we’re making the right stops in the right locations.
“Two customers per week, on average, were using the mobile branch during its stops in these towns, so we have relocated these stops to other nearby towns.
“We will continue to engage with customers impacted upon by this decision to ensure that they are fully aware of all of the different ways that they can continue to bank with us.”