Unite, Britain’s biggest union, has accused taxpayer owned Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) of turning its back on local communities by embarking on a major ‘stealth attack’ on bank branches.
The union is urging the government to intervene and demand that the bank reverses its decision to pull out of dozens of communities. Since November 2013 the bank has announced the closure of 48 branches.
Over the last two weeks the taxpayer bailed out bank has quietly begun a programme to close 26 bank branches across the UK, 14 of which are last banks in town. The bank also quietly announced a further 18 bank closures in February, bringing the total to 44 closures this year. In November and December 2013 the bank announced the closure of 4 branches (see notes to editors).
Despite being majority owned by the taxpayer, RBS has reversed its decision not to close any of its branches classified as the last bank branch in town, despite this commitment being part of the bank’s customer charter.
RBS has stated that the bank has to rebuild trust with customers following the banking crisis and mis-selling scandals, but with 44 bank branch closures this year, commitments such as those contained within the charter are more likely to be viewed with cynicism.
Unite national officer Rob Macgregor said: “This is a stealth attack on local communities by bailed out RBS. Taxpayers have a right to be angry that RBS has quietly embarked on a major programme of branch closures.
“While RBS senior executives get millions of pounds in payouts, there are communities up and down the country being denied access to a local bank. George Osborne whose own constituency is affected, should intervene and demand that RBS rethinks these decisions.
“There has been no proper consultation with customers in advance of the announced closures and there is a real fear that these closures will hurt the communities affected.
“RBS’ decision to reverse its commitment not to close last banks in town means no community or its banking facilities are safe.”
Contact: Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315
Notes for editors:
Branch closures in 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.
Branch closures in 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.
Of these 14 are ‘last branch in town’ which are listed:
England & Wales (excluding London)
• Fair Oak
• Old Roan Liverpool
• East Linton
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.