Bank Heist by Charlotte Bennie

Recently, a letter arrived, explaining that the branch of RBS down the town would close in October. However, no need to worry; there would still be an ATN available. In Kirkcudbright. 

Aye right! About twenty miles away.
Actually, I’d already been told all this. On a visit into the bank with an enquiry. The staff had been most pleasant. I’d no need for concern as there was internet banking and they would explain how to add relevant software to my devices. It would have been rude, shouting at the staff. They were doing their job. Perhaps a job now in jeopardy. However, I came home, fuming and have been on simmer ever since. For a start, I’m a tax payer, and RBS is mostly owned by tax payers. Yet, I don’t recall any of their heid bummers contacting me about this.
Many reading this will consider me a Luddite, still expecting the bank manager to be living in the wardrobe. If that seems gibberish, then you aren’t of a certain age.
I’m not a dinosaur. If I were, I couldn’t write this and you wouldn’t be able to read it. But I see no reason why I have to indulge in cyber activity which I don’t want to do. Why should I have to download goodness knows what onto an ageing computer? A computer with an annoyingly diverse range of tantrums and tirravees.
Then, there’s the internet. Or rather, the very odd behaviour of the internet out here. I can thole this when all I’m doing is having a wee daunner around Face Book, or about to buy silver earrings on Ebay. If the internet mysteriously shuts down, so what? I’ve only been indulging in a modern version of gossip over the garden wall and, as for the earrings, I’ve plenty. However, if I’d just embarked on some complex financial transaction, it would be a different matter. And, the local internet throwing a huff isn’t a rarity, it’s several times a week. I’ve seen customers in local shops attempting to pay by card, giving up after several minutes and only being able to complete their transaction because they have nipped over to the nearest ATN and returned with the hard cash.
Surely, there will be other banks? With the Royal, it will be Stranraer in one direction and Castle Douglas in the other. Not exactly within a few minutes, even for a driver and, being a blinkie, that isnae me. There are, for the moment, two other banks in the town but one cannot be accessed by wheelchair users, not even its ATN and the other is situated half way up an extremely steep hill, on a dangerously busy junction; accessible, but not comfortably. Of the three, the Royal was the most accessible; well back from the pavement, with a ramp, its ATN protected from nosey pedestrians yet easily reached.
Mind you, there will be a mobile bank. Great! Turning up once a week, to sit for a nano second or two in the car park. You can bet it’ll aye be raining and as for walking down to the car park! A potholed pavement which, for most of the year, is obscured by every stinging or prickly plant native to the British Isles. There have already been reports in the local press that, in those towns where this is now the only access to banking, many less able folk just can’t clamber into the thing. I assume they yell through its door just how much cash they require and someone lobs it out to them?
Many inhabitants of Wigtownshire will now require to keep large wodges of dosh secreted on their person. Apart from a much reduced number of banks in Stranraer and Newton Stewart, rural ATNs will also vanish. Buses are rare and becoming rarer and as I’ve explained, it might not be practical to rely on the mobile bank. I hope this is made clear on such travellers’ bibles as Lonely Planet and Trip adviser.
Perhaps, this will become part of the charm for visitors to rural Britain? Pubs and shops where, if you haven’t the cash because you normally just swipe your smart phone or whip out your card, accept archaic cash substitutes called cheques? Or even, trade beads and cowrie shells?
Mind you, that’s assuming the survival of yet another essential to civilisation, the rural shop.


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