Backlash over RBS branch closures

Royal Bank of Scotland is coming under pressure to reverse plans to close 62 branches across Scotland. 

RBS said the cutbacks, which would see 158 jobs lost, were a result of more customers using online banking. However, research by the Scottish Rural Group (SRA) suggests the closures would have a negative impact on small towns and villages.

In a survey of 1100 people, the SRA found 95% of people do not want the closures to happen.

Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee met this morning to discuss the plans. Chair Pete Wishart MP of the SNP said plans to offset the proposals by installing cash machines in local Post Offices were “totally disingenuous”.

RBS Chief Executive, Les Matheson told the committee that changes in the way customers are using services was the reason behind the closures. After being asked several times to reconsider the plans, Matheson said:

“What we are saying is that we will talk to customers about the changes.”

Matheson also added that less than 1% of RBS customers visit their local branch once a week. However, Pete Wishart continued to press RBS representatives: “I get the sense you’re not prepared to look at this again,” said the MP for Perth and North Perthshire. Matheson retorted that RBS is a commercial enterprise.


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