RBS boss to face MPs over branch closures

RBS sign.


The Scottish Affairs committee says RBS has “questions to answer”

The boss of the Royal Bank of Scotland is due to appear before MPs to explain why the bank plans to close scores of branches across Scotland.

RBS chief executive Ross McEwan will give evidence to the Scottish Affairs Committee at Westminster.

It has taken lengthy negotiations for the appearance to be confirmed.

The session will focus on the decision made by the bank to close 62 branches, and the announcement of a partial reprieve for 10 of those.

Committee member Deidre Brock said the bank “still has plenty of questions to answer” about the planned closures.

The SNP MP also said more details were needed on plans for the 10 branches reprieved after a campaign by the SNP and community leaders.

In advance of the committee hearing, she said: “The bank is owned by the taxpayer and the chief executive needs to shed light on the decision-making process that is leaving so many communities across Scotland without physical banking services.

“We need details on the branches that have been saved from the axe after a hard campaign by local communities and the SNP.”



Ross McEwan will face questions from MPs

The MP said the branches that have been saved “are still under threat” and added: “We need to know what basis they are being judged on, what will give these communities the peace of mind that they’ll still have a bank.

“We also need to find out why the chance to save branches is limited to just 10 locations, we already know that branch closures won’t save money so what is the thinking behind closing them?”

She said the banks are “hugely important to communities across Scotland, people and businesses depend on them to help keep local economies running.”

“The UK Tory government cannot continue to dismiss their concerns and look the other way while the taxpayer-owned RBS wilfully damages the interests of its shareholders – the taxpayers in these communities,” she added.

She added: “The SNP will continue to try to save these banks, it is time that the other parties joined us in that campaign and put pressure on the UK government to work in Scotland’s interests to force this public company to respect the communities that are in danger of being abandoned.”

Despite criticism that it could leave some communities without any banking facilities, Mr McEwan has defended the plans, saying the moves were in response to customer choices and also said mobile banks could play a greater role.

RBS is not the only bank to close branches in Scotland, but its plans are the most high profile.

On Monday, disability and rural campaigners questioned if the closure plans breached equalities legislation.

Scottish Rural Action and Disability Equality Scotland have joined Scottish government minister Jeane Freeman to seek clarity on the legal status of the bank’s plans to close branches across Scotland.

The campaigners have written to the Equality and Human Rights Commission to ask if the proposals would be in breach of the Equalities Act 2010.