The taxpayer-owned Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has left great swathes of the UK without a bank in their local community, as it pressed ahead with the closure of 100 RBS and NatWest branches in the last six months.
Unite, the country’s largest union which represents RBS staff, branded the bank’s accelerating closure programme as “wholly negative and counterproductive” for the affected communities.
This week saw the announcement of the closure of three NatWest branches - Coventry (Foleshill), Leicester (Humberstone Park) and Rotherham (Corporation Street) – bringing the tally to 100 branch closures since January.
Unite accused RBS of backsliding on its commitment to maintain a banking service ‘where we are the last bank in town (LBiT)’ – and said that 48 of this year’s 100 closures are classified as LBiTs.
Unite national officer for finance Rob MacGregor said: “RBS, which is 81 per cent owned by the taxpayer, has steadily and stealthily reneged on its commitment to provide banking services to often rural and ill-served communities.
“Nearly half of this year’s 100 closures mean that these communities now don’t have a bank – and surveys have shown that people like the face-to-face contact that having a physical presence in the high street provides.
“Pensioners; those who have mobility issues; and those without internet access are being particularly hard-hit by these closures in their towns and rural areas.
“Unite is not alone in believing that banks, especially those owned by the taxpayer, have a duty to the wider community. We believe that many of the branches that have been closed were making a profit – and their closure is aimed at just increasing profits.
“We call on RBS to reconsider its closure programme and that it understands that it has a moral duty to maintain a presence in towns where it is the only bank.
“This is one way it can rebuild the public’s battered trust in the banking system.”
NatWest was taken over by the RBS in 2000.
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940 and/or the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065.
RBS & Natwest closures announced by RBS in 2014 – January to June
February 2014 (18)
Bedworth,Warwickshire; Bromborough, Wirral; Clifton Bristol the Mall; Grangetown Cardiff; Nottingham Hucknall Road; Woodstock, Oxfordshire; Elm Park; Putney Royal Hospital & Home; Paisley Central; Bedford Allhallows; Cardiff Splott Road; Morriston Swansea; Norwich Prince of Wales Road; Sheffield University; University of Nottingham Jubilee Campus; Woolston Southampton; Forest Gate & Dundee Perth Road.
March 2014 (26)
Bollington, Cheshire; Bristol Redfield; Glastonbury; Hazlemere Bucks; Heanor, Derbyshire; Old Roan, Liverpool; York Acomb; Bonnybridge, Glasgow; Castletown, Kirkwell; Birkdale, Liverpool; Brough, Hull; Chelford, Cheshire; Fair Oak, Southampton; Highcliffe-on-Sea, Dorset; Kirkbymoorside, Yorkshire; Lancing, West Sussex; Malvern Link; Radyr, Cardiff; Repton, Derbyshire; Chirnside, Berwickshire; East Linton, East Lothian; Greenlaw, Berwickshire; Longniddry, East Lothian; Newtown St. Boswells, Berwickshire; Pathhead & Roman Road Bethnal Green.
April 2014 (19)
Aberdovey; Brightlingsea; Corsham; Dovercourt & Harwich; Highbridge; Hoo St Werburgh; Little Common & Cooden; New Brighton; Ponteland; Sandiarce & Stapleford; Harrow Weald; Maida Hill; North Acton; Carradale; Edinburgh Balerno; Edinburgh Royal Infirmary; Barming; Bloxwich & Meads Eastbourne
May 2014 (37)
Boston Spa; Cranfield University; Pembury; Eccleston; Martock; Radstock; Sonning Common & Peppard; Ballantrae; Newmilns; Cumnock (Sanquhar); New Cumnock; Hawkinge; Catrine; Edinburgh North Bridge; Hardgate; Kirkmuirhill; Glenluce; Milnathort; Whithorn; Benilech; Childwall; Dawlish; Hereford Commercial Street; Holbury; Leicestershire Humberstone Park; Litherland; Llanfair Caereinion; Llanidloes; Portsmouth North End; Rhosllannerchrugog; Rotherham Corporation Street; Tunstall; Dalbeattie; Lochmaben; Markinch; Thornton & Coventry Foleshill
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.