PRESS RELEASE – Exclusive research shows impacts of proposed RBS branch closures to rural Scotland

Exclusive research shows impacts of proposed RBS branch closures to rural Scotland

The Westminster Scottish Affairs Committee will take evidence from SRA on Wednesday 17 January on the impacts of proposed branch closures.

SRA has undertaken a survey of rural Scots who will be affected by these closures, and are now making these findings public.

  • Over 1,100 individuals responded to our research
  • Communities in rural Scotland feel particularly let down by the RBS closures, especially where this is the last bank in town; it feels like those communities, and therefore rural Scotland as a whole, is being told it does not matter.
  • The alternatives offered by RBS (online banking, Post Office services and mobile banking) are not good do not provide sufficient breadth of service or accessibility to meet the needs of the community
  • The closures – which are predominantly in rural areas – discriminate against rural communities, vulnerable people, small businesses and demonstrate a complete lack of care and compassion on the behalf of RBS.

Our research indicates:

  1. 95% of people affected by the closures are in no doubt that the closures should not go ahead [80% of people not affected by these closures]
  2. 55% of people are concerned about increased isolation
  3. 64% concerned that they will not be able to deposit/access cash
  4. 19% concerned about the impact on tourism
  5. 22% concerned about the impact on population
  6. 7% felt online banking was a viable alternative that met their needs
  7. 10% felt Post Office services were a viable alternative that met their needs
  8. 13% felt that mobile van bank services were a viable alternative that met their needs
  9. 38% of people affected by these closures, have already been affected by closures in the past

Emma Cooper, Chief Executive of Scottish Rural Action said ‘The proposed branch closures will have a huge impact on Scotland’s rural communities, our high streets, tourism and will impact most severely on the vulnerable.  We know that 10% of people will never be able to access online banking, and many of those people will struggle to use alternative services.

‘RBS is not the only bank that has been closing branches, but many of these closures will the last branch in town closing, leaving communities and business owners with no local alternatives’.