COMMONS

RBS chiefs quizzed on branch closures

15 January 2018

Executives from the Royal Bank of Scotland appear before the Scottish Affairs Committee in a one-off session examining planned branch closures.

Witnesses

Wednesday 17 January, Committee Room 8, House of Commons

From 9:30 am – Impact on business, communities and staff

From 10:15 am – Post Office

From 10:45 am – Royal Bank of Scotland

  • Les Matheson, Chief Executive, Personal & Business Banking, RBS
  • Jane Howard, Managing Director, Personal Banking, RBS

Impact of closures

In December 2017, RBS announced their intention to close 62 branches, a third of their overall number. It is expected that this will include the loss of 158 jobs. RBS have defended the plans, citing the increasing use of online or mobile platforms to access banking services. However, there are serious concerns around the impact of closures on local communities, particularly in rural areas, where access to broadband is poor and few alternatives available.

The Committee will examine the basis for the decision to close the branches in Scotland, and the process behind it. They will also investigate how a publicly owned company can remove vital services and ask what is being done to support the communities affected in the future.

The Committee will also hear from other groups likely to be affected. The Post Office will give evidence on their capacity to replace services provided by RBS in location where branches are closing. They will also hear from Scottish Rural Action, Unite and the Scottish Chambers of Commerce on the impact of closures on local communities, and the businesses and individuals who depend on the services RBS provide.

Chair's comments

Chair of the Committee, Pete Wishart, said:

"RBS's decision to close over 60 branches will have a serious impact on the people of Scotland and may leave some rural communities without a local bank.

We will want to hear from RBS how such cuts can be justified by a bank that the UK Government, and therefore the taxpayer, still owns the majority stake in.

We will reserve the right to extend this short inquiry if we feel we do not secure satisfactory responses; we are therefore also hoping to hear from the Government and if necessary from Ross McEwan, Chief Executive of RBS."

Further information

Image: PA

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