A CLOSURE-threatened bank in a Ross-shire community has been given a stay of execution – but another remains firmly on the hit list.
The Royal Bank of Scotland has reprieved three Highland banks – in Kyle, Beauly and Tongue – following a determined campaign.
The branches are being given until the end of the year to show "sustainable transactional increases and viable new income" and then will be subject to a review by RBS bosses. But Tain’s branch has been given no such reprieve and is still among those facing closure.
News of the partial U-turn has prompted a "use it or lose it" appeal to communities eager to save their banks.
Jane Howard, RBS managing director for personal banking, said the bank had listened to concerns, but the performance of reprieved branches must improve by the end of the year.
She said: "During this period we will monitor the level of transactions and new income at each branch and if there is a viable increase in both then we will reconsider the closure."
Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP and SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said news of the partial reprieve was "great news" but vowed to keep up the fight in terms of those branches which remain under threat of closure.
And Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross MP Jamie Stone said: "I see this success as only the first step in the long campaign to turn around the super tanker of wrong thinking that so far guided rural bank branch closures in Scotland.
"What turns out to be right for Tongue can also be right for Tain and Wick and so many other communities across Scotland."