Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

North politicians demand rethink on branch closures after RBS announces massive profits

Post Thumbnail

North politicians have urged Royal Bank of Scotland to call a halt to proposed branch closures after the company announced a £792 million profit in the first three months of 2018.

RBS directors told MPs in January it would save £9.5m a year by shutting 62 branches in Scotland, many of them in the remotest parts of the country.

Jamie Stone, the Liberal Democrat MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, insisted yesterday the increased profits – up from £259m in the first quarter of 2017 – should be used to reverse the cuts and proposed job losses.

Mr Stone, who has campaigned against branch closures in Tain, Tongue and Wick, said: “RBS has had a difficult decade, but now the profits are flooding in once more.

“They need to be mindful of the communities who stood by them when times were tough and the taxpayers’ money that helped them out of a hole.

“The branch closures, which would save the firm as little as £9 million, are a lifeline for many rural communities.

“Our local economies deserve busy high streets and face-to-face reliable banking.

“Peeling services back to their bare bones and making people rely on ever-reducing mobile services is simply not good enough.”

David Stewart, the Labour MSP for Highlands and Islands, added: “I support a moratorium on the bank closures across Scotland and particularly in the Highlands and Islands.

“Banks are key hubs in our towns and cities and losing branches is equivalent to losing other key services such as post offices.

“Given these profits reported today, the RBS must reconsider this decision for the benefit of not only our communities, but their own staff who are facing uncertain futures.

“This is a chance for the RBS to show they will listen and reverse this ill thought-out decision.”

Isles MP, Angus Brendan MacNeil, presented a petition in the House of Commons yesterday, signed by hundreds of islanders opposed to the closure of the Castlebay branch on Barra.

The SNP politician added: “The actions of RBS are particularly galling with a threefold increase in profits for the first quarter.”

Mary Alexander, deputy Scottish secretary of the Unite union, said: “Here we have it in the black and white on the RBS balance sheet. The bank is rolling in profits.

“It’s time to call a moratorium on the axe hanging over these 62 branches.”

Moray SNP MSP Richard Lochhead said the celebratory mood of RBS bosses at their massive profits were a “slap in the face” to communities and customers across Scotland.

He said: “In my own constituency local bank services have been decimated, with not a single branch left in Speyside, and people in other communities having to travel ridiculous lengths to visit their nearest bank.

“To have RBS celebrate these massive profits whilst communities are having their branches closed and their mobile services slashed is real slap in the face, particularly as we the taxpayers remain the majority owners.

“Communities deserve proper answers from RBS and no doubt alongside many other colleagues I’ll be pressing the bank to give those answers.

“It is also high time the Conservative UK Government listened and stepped in to put a stop to these bank closures and service reductions that are causing real economic and social damage to communities right across Scotland.”

RBS declined to comment on calls for a moratorium on closures.

A spokesman, however, reiterated the bank’s stance that customers increasingly choose to bank online or on mobile, with the number of branch customers falling by 44% since 2012.

He said RBS was investing heavily in alternative ways to bank.

“We are investing in our more popular branches and shaping our network, replacing traditional bricks and mortar branches with alternative ways to bank so that we can reach even more customers,” he said.

David Duguid, Scottish Conservative MP for Banff and Buchan, said: “These figures make it increasingly difficult for RBS to justify the closure of so many local branches.

“The public will, quite rightly, ask why savings of £9m a year have to be made when profits are in the high hundreds of millions.

“The bank will say that this is due to changing customer habits, so people in areas affected must show that they want to continue using the branches.

“However, there is a strong case to be made for RBS to review its decision on the 52 branches currently facing the axe in Scotland – including those in my Banff and Buchan constituency.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]