MP blasts bank’s arrogance

The Bellshill branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland is one of 62 across Scotland which are due to close before the end of June
The Bellshill branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland is one of 62 across Scotland which are due to close before the end of June

Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill MP Hugh Gaffney has urged Royal Bank of Scotland customers to ‘vote with their feet’ and move their accounts.

This comes after RBS’s director of personal and business banking Les Matheson appeared before the Scottish Affairs Committee where he refused to give any consideration to a re-think on closing branches.

RBS is to close 62 branches all over Scotland, including Bellshill and Tannochside, by the end of June this year which will save aorund £9.5 million.

Last year it emerged the bank has sponsored the Six Nations rugby tournament for £44m over four years .

However, Mr Matheson told the committee that the closures were “not about saving money” which led Lyn Turner from Unite Scotland to speculate that the bank is pressing ahead with branch closures to send the message it is “now ready for sell-off”.

Mr Gaffney, who is also a Thorniewood councillor, has three branches earmarked for closure in his Westminster constituency – Bellshill, Tannochside and Chryston.

After being present as a member of the Scottish Affairs Committee he accused the bank of ‘arrogance’.

Mr Gaffney said: “The RBS staff who appeared before the committee gave an arrogant response that they don’t need to care for the communities where they built their banks as customers don’t need buildings when everyone is online.

“They have no care for face to face customers and suggest everyone can use the Post Office. I feel this arrogance shows we have a community business turning its back on local people.

“Banks have been right at the heart of our communities for hundreds of years. Our ancestors helped to build these businesses up, but that loyalty over the generations is being sorely tested by this.

“RBS is putting profits first and believes it can walk away on the knowledge their customers will not leave them, maybe it is time their customers voted with their feet and walked the other way.

“Les Matheson seems to think customers who don’t move their account when their branch closes are a success story and a vote of confidence, I sincerely hope they are proved wrong are proved wrong.”

Uddingston and Bellshill MSP Ruchard Lyle has launched a petition against the branch closures which can be signed at his constituency office in Main Street, Bellshill.