PROTESTERS are refusing to give up the fight to keep their local banks despite only one branch in the Borders being given a reprieve.

It was announced last Tuesday that Melrose was to be given a stay of execution by Royal Bank of Scotland bosses (see page 10).

And that the remaining five on the hit list - Selkirk, Hawick, Duns, Jedburgh and Eyemouth - will close as planned during the summer.

On Friday Selkirk Regeneration Company organised a protest outside the High Street branch.

And there was a similar protest on Hawick High Street.

Around 200 concerned customers also attended a series of public meetings organised by local MP John Lamont.

Mr Lamont told us: “To have 200 people turn up is a real demonstration of the level of feeling in the Borders about branch closures.

“Many more who were unable to attend these meetings have contacted me to stress their concerns and I’m now hoping to fit in further meetings in other locations facing closures.

“I think that RBS have been taken aback by the huge reaction to this.

"The fact that they have been forced in to a rethink already is a ray of hope that the battle to save our branches is not over yet.

“The views of everyone who came along will be fed in to the work of the Scottish Affairs Committee. I’m looking forward to making these views clear to RBS boss Ross McEwan when he’s dragged before the Committee.”

A range of concerns were raised during Friday's three public meetings in Duns, Hawick and Melrose.

As well as the impact on the elderly, businesses and charities, several people questioned whether the replacement mobile branches were fit for purpose.

Opposition to the closures was almost unanimous at each meeting when votes were taken.

MSP Rachael Hamilton said: “Our public meeting gave communities the chance to air their views for the first time.

"The lack of public engagement from RBS has been shockingly poor. They should have showed up to listen to the strength of public opinion against bank closures.

“It was great to see such a fantastic turn-out at each meeting. I have lots to report back to RBS to make they understand the impact these closures will have on their customers.

“It is so important to keep the pressure up on RBS and try and force them to change this awful decision.”

Future public meetings are being planned for Selkirk, Eyemouth and Jedburgh.

In Selkirk around 130 postcards denouncing the RBS decision were signed outside the bank.

Lindsay Neil from organisers, the Selkirk Regeneration Company, said: "This was a non-political protest aimed at reminding the RBS of the strength of feeling against the planned closures.

"We wanted to make the point that there is strong feeling against theses closures."

Selkirk Community Council also protested against the decision by switching its account to the Bank of Scotland branch.

Chairman Alistair Pattullo said: "RBS are turning their back on our community and we no longer felt that we should be supporting them."