RBS Chief Executive, Ross McEwan has appeared before the Scottish Affairs Committee to try to justify the bank’s closure of branches across Scotland, in what Borders MP John Lamont has described as a “pathetic” evidence session.
In response to claims that customers were angry about the branch closures, Les Matheson said: “that’s not been our experience.”
During the evidence session, Mr McEwan repeatedly promised the bank would visit more locations with a mobile bank service, despite having just withdrawn the service for Coldstream, Paxton, Allanton, Foulden, Chirnside, Ayton, Leitholm, Swinton, Lauder and St Boswells.
The RBS Chief agreed to follow up on concerns raised by residents who are set to lose their mobile service, as well as the experience of one disabled resident in Eyemouth who had to do their mobile banking in the pouring rain in a car park.
Commenting, John Lamont MP said: “RBS claim that customers are not concerned about these closures and that most are happy to use other branches, or mobile or internet banking.
“The comments by Ross McEwan and senior figures at the bank showed a complete lack of understanding about the impact losing a bank will have on rural communities. They seem to think that most people are happy to lose their branch and appeared completely unaware that its customers in the Borders are angry at losing their mobile van or the problems disabled customers have in accessing mobile branches.
“Despite the bank’s warm words, the reality on the ground is somewhat different and harsher for communities who are losing bank branches and mobile banking services. RBS have come to the Scottish Affairs Committee to say one thing and do the complete opposite in communities.
“The truth is that residents feel angry and feel betrayed by the bank they saved, as taxpayers, just a few years ago.
“If RBS had accepted my invitation to attend the public meetings I held in each of the 6 towns in the Borders set to lose their branch, they might have a better understanding of the level of anger amongst rural communities.”