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RBS A Whitewash Claims Rhoda Grant MSP

3rd October 2018

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP Rhoda Grant commenting on the RBS independent review on bank closures said " out of the 62 earmarked for closure by RBS only two have been reprieved. This highlights what we all knew and that was that they were merely getting a stay of execution.

“ I am delighted that the campaigning islanders of Barra have persuaded the bank and Accountancy Firm Johnstone Carmichael, who carried out the review, to keep their bank open. Common sense has prevailed, but this bank should never have been considered for closure in the first place. The fact that it was the last bank on the island makes the initial decision so ludicrous and actually shows how much RBS value the needs of the island community.

“As for the other banks now earmarked for closure across the Highlands, I strongly feel that neither RBS nor Johnstone Carmichael are properly considering the needs of these communities, the elderly frail or vulnerable. They are not taking cognisance of the fact that many do not want to use IT for banking as they do not trust it. They omit to mention that banks manipulate customers to do their business on- line because they are offering less alternatives and this is the reason there is less footfall over the High Street door. Customers want to go into a physical bank which is in many cases the centre of their community. Whilst I appreciate that RBS is providing mobile banking, I have serious concerns about access for the disabled and less able. If RBS really were thinking about their loyal customers, they would have considered all these factors before making decisions and they would at the very least have set in place fit for purpose mobile banking services. Yes they are setting up facilities in some Post Offices and other areas will have opportunities with community banking, but why could they not have considered shared RBS facility or banking hubs.

“ This review is a white wash because no consideration was taken of the fact that rural banking is very different from urban banking. It clearly also never considered that broadband is almost non-existent in some rural parts of our scattered communities.