RBS bank closure plans criticised by Mps

RBS has failed to appreciate the impact of his decision to close dozens of branches in Scotland, a report by Mps has found.

The Scottish Affairs Committee described the move as a “devastating blow” for the affected communities.

It has urged the bank, which is majority-owned by the taxpayer, to stop the plans to axe up to 62 branches.

RBS said the closures were in response to the increase in the number of mobile customers and online banking services.

However, the plans have drawn sharp criticism on the part of local communities, business groups and politicians.

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In December, RBS announced that it would close a total of 62 points north of the border.

Ten of them were later given a stay of execution, at least until the end of this year, pending a review.

The report of the committee, said the closure would be to remove the “essential services relied on by businesses and disproportionately affect vulnerable customers”.

He said: “We are not convinced that RBS fully appreciate the damage caused by these closures are going to make to the communities and businesses that rely on these industries.”

In its report, the committee has argued that the impact assessments conducted by the bank has not provided sufficient information on the situation of the different sectors.

He said: “For example, if the customers have access to a device reliable broadband connection to allow them to use the online banking services, the practice of traveling to the nearest branch or the effective availability of alternative services, such as branches and bankers.

“Without this information, we do not see how these documents can be said to have properly assessed the impact of these closures on customers, businesses and communities.”

The chairman of the committee Pete Wishart said: “The loss of standing of the bank and the services it provides, may not be reproduced by the occasional visit of a mobile to the bank or the community bank.

“In rural areas, the local branch is an essential element, from which the removal is compounded by the problems of broadband access and travel time to the next available facility.

“RBS has not consulted adequately and, even at this last stage should reconsider their decision to close these branches.”

RBS has said that it welcomes the publication of the report. “Not an easy decision’

In a statement, he said: “We would like to reassure our customers and the commission that we understand the closure of a branch may be difficult for clients and colleagues who work in these branches. This is not an easy decision to make.

“We listened to customers, colleagues, communities and elected representatives, and welcome the committee’s recognition that we have engaged and responded.”

The bank said it was responding to changes in the way customers bank, the directorate-general for use in reduction of 44% compared to 2011, while seven in 10 customers now have the use of the mobile or online banking.

He added: “We recognize that each client has different banking needs and we are committed to ensuring all our customers receive the best service possible.”

Reuters

The Scottish Affairs Committee has also urged the UK government to use any influence as a majority shareholder of pressure on RBS to reconsider its closure of the program

Mr Wishart added: “the government of The united KINGDOM has an obligation to represent the interests of the citizens and communities in Scotland, who will be harmed by this band of bank closures.

“They own 70% of the shares of this company, and should use any influence they have to try and get it back on its decision.”

A HM Treasury spokesperson said: “The decision to open and close branches is a commercial decision taken by the management team of each bank.

“The government does not intervene in these decisions.

“But we understand the impact that closures can have on communities and the peoples of the employment.

“The banks must now give customers as much notice as possible when a branch is in the process of closing, and ensure that they are aware of the options they have locally to continue to access banking services.”