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MSP urges RBS to pilot banking scheme in rural Scotland

Stewart Stevenson MSP
Stewart Stevenson MSP

An MSP has written to the Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive asking him to look at piloting a banking centre in a rural area such as the north-east of Scotland.

Banking boss Ross McEwan has been sent a letter by Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson about the scheme, which would be the catalyst for banks co-operating to work from one premises.

Through NatWest, RBS is involved with the pilot of such a scheme in England along with Barclays Bank and Lloyds Bank, but these initiatives are all in urban regions.

Mr Stevenson would like the companies to test the idea in a rural area, suggesting the north-east as a viable option, before they conclude their tests.

In the letter, he wrote: “As you will be aware, various banks including RBS have closed a large number of branches in the north-east in recent years and, increasingly, one of the things I am hearing from constituents is the desire for the banks to co-operate through shared provision of premises.

“I understand….that none of these pilots are taking place in Scotland, but the results of the pilots in England will be assessed before any decisions are reached.

“I should be grateful if you are able to update me on when you expect the reach any conclusions from the data gathered.

“I note also that all of the pilots are in urban areas and should be grateful if consideration could be given to a similar trial in a rural area, such as the north-east, so that the data gathered is not based entirely on urban experiences.”

The politician is concerned following a large number of branch closures in towns such as Buckie, Banff and Fraserburgh.

He said: “Any initiative which could retain or even bring back a range of services provided by the banks themselves is worth serious consideration.

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