2 December 2017
Highlands and Islands Regional MSP Rhoda Grant has hit out at the decision by RBS to close a further 62 branches in Scotland.
Rhoda said “I understand that banks are coming under pressure due to reduced customer footfall with the onset of online banking and telephone banking becoming more popular.
“However, off the 62 RBS closures,13 are in the Highlands and Islands where access to online banking is limited and the distance to an alternative bank is prohibitive.
“It is the elderly and the disadvantaged who are the main users of on street branches and they are the very people who will find it hardest to either access these other forms of banking or be able to travel to the next available bank.
“We have to also think about the staff who at this time of year are more than likely to hear they are losing their jobs.
“Village banks especially those in the remote areas are integral to the community. In many cases they are the magnet that pulls people into our villages and towns.
“ If they close we are likely to see what’s left of our business and trading community diminish as the villages and town centres become more like ghost towns.
“Banks always talk about their social responsibility, well in most of these cases the closures seem more about costs and savings than any form of responsibility to the community.
“ I will be writing to the CEO of the RBS, Ross McEwan, seeking answers to the questions many constituents of mine have been asking.
“These will include what plans have they to reduce any staff compulsory redundancies, how are they going to provide a service to the loyal customers in the towns and villages across the Highlands and Islands and what action do they propose to take to sustain and support the local communities they are abandoning.
“A further key question that I will be asking is have RBS taken into account the poor broadband connection in many rural places across the Highlands & Islands which will prevent many from utilising this particular service.”