Royal Bank of Scotland is the “worst” bank for branch closures, according to a new report out today.
One in three British branch closures between 2014 and 2015 was at the hands of RBS or its sister brand, NatWest, according to the Move Your Money campaign.
Accusing Britain’s biggest lender to small businesses of “abandoning communities” and “creating credit deserts”, the campaign said that more than half of so-called last bank in town closures were either RBS or NatWest locations.
Move Your Money pushes for major banking sector reform,. The group’s campaign manager Fionn Travers-Smith said: “Closing branches cuts people off from their own money, and undermines jobs and communities by starving businesses of both cash and credit.”
“We own NatWest & RBS, so they should work for us. Instead, the bank is abandoning the very communities and people that saved it when it was on its knees, and who rely on its services,” Travers-Smith said.
Chancellor George Osborne announced plans earlier this year to begin selling off the government’s 79 per cent stake in RBS, and in August the government released a 5.4 per cent stake at a loss of £1bn. Further sales are expected as soon as next month.
Commenting on the Move Your Money report, RBS managing director of branch banking Jane Howard said: "Banking has changed significantly over the last few years – for example, branch counter transactions have fallen by 36 per cent since 2010 while online and mobile transactions have increased by more than 300 per cent since 2010. Only 9 per cent of our total transactions now take place in our branches (compared to 25 per cent in 2010) and more than half of our customers actively use mobile phone and online banking.
"Our branches remain the cornerstone of the service we provide to customers and we will continue to have the second largest branch network in the UK," Howard added.