EAST Lothian’s MSP Paul McLennan has written to every bank in the county to discuss the future of banking in East Lothian following the announcement that Tranent’s Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) branch will close in July.

Mr McLennan held a meeting with RBS last month and expressed his frustration at the pending closure of the Tranent bank, saying he was concerned by the lack of consultation with the people of Tranent before making the decision.

He said: “Like council colleagues in Tranent, I was shocked to hear of the decision to close the Tranent branch of the RBS.

“I immediately called a meeting in April with RBS to try and understand their rationale and urge them to think again.

“It’s clear that the decision had already been made well ahead of any chance for representatives or the public to prevent this from happening. It is unacceptable that constituents are being denied access to a local branch in normal circumstances, yet East Lothian is one of the fastest-growing areas in the country.”

East Lothian Courier: Royal Bank of Scotland, Tranent High StreetRoyal Bank of Scotland, Tranent High Street

And he added: “If bank branches continue to close here, then that does not bode well for a solution in Tranent, or for other towns across East Lothian. I believe this closure shows extremely poor forward planning from RBS and that it not only negatively affects all those who rely on a local branch for personal and business banking, but also ignores the impact the new Blindwells development will have on existing banking services.”

RBS announced it would be closing the Tranent branch after saying footfall had fallen 70 per cent in the bank since 2019, with an average of 37 customers using it on a regular basis in 2021. The branch is due to close on July 27.

Mr McLennan had asked RBS to consider introducing a mobile branch service into Tranent and to increase mobile banking provision across the county.

However, he said that RBS were not looking to introduce a mobile banking service to Tranent at this time, but he said that he would keep on pushing them to do so.

Mr McLennan added: “In the short term, the Post Office will be able to pick up the strain; however, it’s clear that this is not an appropriate long-term solution to the many issues that customers will need face-to-face support with. I would encourage all RBS customers to make use of the pop-up information services that RBS are providing during the close down. Speak directly to them, making it clear that you need additional support.”

READ MORE: Motion for urgent meeting to save Tranent's RBS backed by councillors

The MSP has also written to every bank in East Lothian to discuss the future of banking in the county.

He said: “Age UK have recently published a report on access to cash indicating that banking hubs may be a potential solution to branch closures. I have invited all the banks to meet with me to look at ways of ensuring that Tranent has its access to banking services restored, and avoiding a situation where East Lothian loses even more local banking facilities. I am pleased that responses to this invite are already coming in and will update constituents further on outcomes when they are available.”