A motion calling on the council to hold an urgent meeting with the CEO and chair of Royal Bank of Scotland to oppose the closure of Tranent’s RBS branch has been unanimously supported by councillors.

The motion was put forward at today's council meeting by Labour councillors Fiona Dugdale and Colin McGinn.

Councillor Dugdale said: “I was really shocked when I heard RBS had made the decision to close the last bank branch in Tranent.

“I could not believe that this major financial institution had made this decision with no consultation, or discussion with local people.

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

“It is critical to have access to local banking facilities and it’s hard to believe that RBS have fully appreciated the impact this will have on local people.

“I appreciate RBS has looked back and analysed figures to arrive at this proposal but such an important institution should also be looking forward.

“I am really appalled by the proposal and how it has been made.

“I am sure this is an issue that will unite all our councillors and I instruct the council to instruct the chief executive and leader of the council to seek an urgent meeting with the chief executive and the chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland to express this council’s extreme concern at the decision, and to explore other options with the Royal Bank of Scotland to keep this branch open.”

READ MORE: Tranent: Petition launched to save town's last bank branch

Councillor McGinn also expressed his frustration at the decision but suggested it was not wholly unexpected.

He added: “This issue of our communities being denied physical banking is not new. The communities we represent have faced this drip drip of closures over the last decade.

“I am really clear, this closure is about maximising profits and returns for those with shares in the sector.

“Alongside the massive cuts to local authority budgets, the impact of closures such as this on our local economy further hinders this council’s ability to regenerate town centres. It damages local business and it hurts charities and local community groups."

READ MORE: Tranent: Call for council to intervene over closure of RBS bank

Councillor Lachlan Bruce (Conservative) highlighted his concern that businesses would suffer as a result of having to travel to Musselburgh, where RBS still has a branch, to carry out face-to-face banking. There is also an RBS branch in Haddington.

He said: “The justification for the closure of the RBS bank in Prestonpans [previously] was that it was fine because you could go to the bank in Tranent.

“It was one bus; it was nice and simple. This just isn’t the case anymore.

“I think it is also worth highlighting the impact on local businesses. The ability to be able to cash money in a timely way is vital.

“Having to drive or get the bus to do that it will increase difficulties for these businesses.”

Councillor Lee-Anne Menzies (SNP) said she and Councillor Neil Gilbert had met with representatives from RBS to discuss bringing a mobile banking service to Tranent.

She said: “I will support any steps to try and convince RBS that they should continue to offer this service to our community. However, I feel that it might be in vein.

READ MORE: Tranent: RBS closure raises concerns over future of High Street

“In a meeting with councillor [Neil] Gilbert and RBS, councillor Gilbert and I asked that a banking bus be offered to the town as way of intermediate assistance. In the response I was advised this would take nine months and that only two busses are available.

“They would need to apply to remove it from another area to assist Tranent. So we were effectively told to put up, shut up and use the post office.”

Councillors voted unanimously in favour of the motion, with councillor Fiona Dugdale expressing her gratitude for the support.

She said: “I appreciate that my fellow councillors have come together in support of this motion. This decision from RBS has an impact on local people, businesses and community groups and not everyone impacted has a loud voice.

“Sadly sometimes it is only when we lose something that we appreciate the full impact of what we have lost.”