Kilsyth’s MP attacks bank’s closure of local branch

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The Royal Bank of Scotland has come under fire from unions and politicians for its plan to close its Kilsyth branch.

The bank is accused of “turning its back” on communities by winding up 30 branches across Scotland with the loss of 176 full time posts, and 158 beranches across the UK.

RBS has given the same reason for the cutbacks as offered by the Clydesdale Bank for its own blitz on branches, arguing that a “dramatic shift” in the way customers bank means more people are using mobile ando nline facilities to manage their finances.

But with the majority of the affected branches based in towns and villages, RBS has been accused of disloyalty.

Kilsyth’s MP, Stuart McDonald, said: “So many further closures of key branches by taxpayer-owned RBS are unacceptable. This is terrible news for customers in Kilsyth.

“I have contacted RBS to express opposition - and both (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) Jamie Hepburn MSP and I will be meeting them soon to take this up.”

Unions warned the bank’s strategy “risks cutting too far” and urged RBS and the UK government to put in place a moratorium on further branch closures.

Across the UK, the decision will affect a further 128 NatWest branches.

In all, 770 staff will be affected by the closures, but RBS said 300 will be moved to newly created roles, which include “community bankers”.

An RBS spokesman said: “We interact with our customers over 20 times more through digital channels than physical ones.

“As customers change the way they bank with us, we must change the way we serve them. “The role of the branch is fast moving to a centre for advice, away from basic transactions.

“While the branch will still be a core part of our offering to customers, inevitably some branches will have to close.”

But Lyn Turner, Unite’s regional officer, said: “RBS is turning its back on the communities that have been the foundation of their business for generations.

“That’s bad news for our members who now have to live with the threat of redundancy – and it’s bad news for customers and businesses.”

Andy Willox, Scottish policy convenor at the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “We know that bank branches are closing faster in Scotland – and we’re frustrated to see RBS show so little loyalty to our high streets.

“Branch closures put pressure on local economies and make it harder for local firms to access banking services.”