RBS chief to be questioned about branch closures

The Castlebay branch in Barra is under threat of closure.
The Castlebay branch in Barra is under threat of closure.

The Scottish Affairs Committee will take evidence from Ross McEwan, CEO of the Royal Bank of Scotland on Tuesday, May 8th.

The session will examine the reasons behind the decision to close 62 branches of RBS in Scotland, subsequent temporary reprieve for ten branches - including the Castlebay branch in Barra - and the long term future of local banking in Scotland.

The Committee will also hear from the Lending Standards Board, the self-regulatory body for the financial services sector.

In December last year, RBS announced the planned closure of 62 branches of RBS across Scotland, citing changes in the way customers access banking services for a drop in branch use of around 40% in the last three years.

In February 2018, they announced that 10 of these branches would be kept open until the end of the year, and their closure reviewed if there was a significant increase in transactions.

The session will examine the impact of the planned closures on the communities they serve, and the effectiveness of replacement services offered by RBS, such as mobile branches.

It will also consider RBS’s obligations to its customers given the UK Governments position as majority shareholder.

Committee Chair Pete Wishart MP commented: “RBS is a company that is still owned by the taxpayer and we still have many questions about the decision making process that will lead to so many communities in Scotland being left without vital banking services.

“We also want more details on the branches that have been given a reprieve - on what basis will they be judged viable in the long term and why wasn’t this opportunity afforded to all affected branches.”