RBS bank closures 'add insult to injury'

Royal Bank of Scotland
Royal Bank of Scotland
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The Lancashire-based Federation of Small Businesses has slammed Royal Bank of Scotland for axeing more branches.

Responding to the announcement of 54 fresh RBS branch closures across England and Wales, FSB national chairman Mike Cherry said: “It’s extremely disappointing to see RBS using the absence of a Williams & Glyn sale as an excuse to further decimate its bank branch network.

“The move adds insult to injury after the £45 million dedicated to branch access was dropped from the RBS remedies put forward in place of that sale.

“We’ve already lost more than 2,000 branches since 2015 and are set to lose another two branches a day throughout 2018.”

Among the RBS branches closing are ones in Adlington, Kirkham and Poulton le Fylde.

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Mr Cherry said: “Small business owners hugely value bank branch access – especially when it comes to depositing and withdrawing cash and discussing finance options. Demand for new finance among small firms is already low, hampering their expansion and wider economic growth.

“A diminished branch network could well make a bad situation worse.

“90 per cent of our members bank online. But they need somewhere to turn when web services fail. Many are blighted by poor broadband, so find using online banking for any length of time a struggle.”

Mr Cherry added: “The focus now has to be on ensuring that RBS’s £775 million remedies package is placed in the hands of those who are genuinely committed to providing excellent customer service to small firms. That includes regular in-person support.

“Equally, if the Post Office is to be a reliable alternative to bank branches then its network must be protected .”