THE Royal Bank of Scotland has been criticised for “zero consultation and zero discussion” after they announced plans to close its Tranent branch.

The High Street branch – the last bank in the town – is due to shut its doors on July 27.

The decision was criticised by both councillors and the town’s community council.

Councillor Colin McGinn, who represents the town, where he lives, spoke to the Courier about the issue this afternoon (Wednesday).

He said: “I’ve literally found out myself.

“It is really disappointing.

“I understand where things are going with cashless and digital banking but it has come as a shock.

“Unless I have missed it, there has been zero consultation and zero discussion with the community.”

Mr McGinn plans to speak with colleagues at East Lothian Council in a bid to arrange talks with The Royal Bank of Scotland, who still have premises in Haddington and Musselburgh.

READ MORE: Tranent: Royal Bank of Scotland confirms plan to close branch

However, he admitted he “did not hold out a lot of hope” at the premises remaining open.

He said: “Where I am a bit annoyed is while the Royal Bank of Scotland has been good on the High Street and serving our community, they need to understand community members have been good for the Royal Bank of Scotland as well.

“To approach this closure without any consultation or community awareness is disappointing.”

Ward colleague Councillor Kenny McLeod was also surprised by the news and questioned what would happen to the cash machine at the building.

He had already written to the bank and said: "I'm deeply disappointed to lose such an iconic High Street brand from our town."

The bank noted that there was an increase in people using both mobile and digital banking, which meant fewer people were coming into the branch.

In Tranent, they said, the average customer transactions had reduced by 70 per cent between January 2019 and January last year.

Similarly, the number of customers using mobile apps had increased by 36 per cent between the same period.

According to a leaflet produced by the Royal Bank of Scotland: “Closing a branch is always difficult and not a decision that we ever take lightly.”

Consideration is given to the likely impact on customers, where the nearest branch and cash machines are, and whether there is a Post Office nearby.

The closure will mean the nearest Royal Bank of Scotland to the town is on Musselburgh’s Bridge Street.

Banking facilities, including checking a balance, withdrawing and paying in money, are available at the town’s Post Office.

In 2021, the bank branch was used by 37 personal customers on a regular basis, with 100 business customers regularly using the facility over the same period.

Mike Falconer, chair of Tranent and Elphinstone Community Council, said: "If it is the case that the bank is to close in July, Tranent and Elphinstone Community Council will be seeking to work with MPs, MSPs and Royal Bank of Scotland to have this decision reversed.

"This would mean the town would only have the post office providing banking services."