Public support can halt bank closures says charity


​Fears bank closures will cut off the elderly  

11th April 2018 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Banks should consider creative alternatives to closures for fear of further isolating older people.

Age Scotland, the older people’s charity, is encouraging everyone to have their say on bank closures and cutbacks to mobile services across Scotland.

Following RBS’s announcement of 62 branch closures across Scotland, the bank is now reducing its mobile services to many areas, with some communities only having a 20 minute visit once a week.

Brian Sloan, chief executive of Age Scotland, said: “Following RBS’s decision to close branches across Scotland, it is very disappointing to see the bank now cutting back its mobile services. Giving customers as little as 20 minutes once a week to do all their banking is simply not good enough. In other communities, people now face long journeys to access their nearest branch.

“We know older people will be most affected by reduced services, as most still prefer to do their banking face-to-face. Our research shows that 70% of people aged over 65 never using online banking.

“Our members tell us they have security concerns with remote banking and miss the personal relationships with staff. Many find it traumatic having to change banks when their local branch closes.”

The charity said older people will be hardest hit by the changes, since they are less likely to use online and telephone banking. Most have a strong preference for doing their banking face-to-face.

They are urging banks to work together to find alternative solutions to cater for customers in rural areas, such as shared branches. This idea was recently raised at Age Scotland’s Town Hall event with Andy Haldane, the Bank of England’s chief economist.

Age Scotland is also encouraging everyone affected to respond to the Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee’s enquiry on the impact of bank closures across Scotland. The consultation closes on Friday (13 April).

Sloan added:  “We welcome the Scottish Parliament’s commitment to examining the impact of closures on local communities and businesses. We would urge everyone affected to make their views known by Friday.”

After widespread Eleven RBS branches were given a stay of execution in February. These branches will be monitored to see if it is economically viable for them to remain open.  

Jane Howard, RBS’s managing director for personal banking, said: "We will monitor the level of transactions and new income at each branch and if there is a sustained and viable increase in both then we will reconsider the closure of the relevant branch as part of a full independent review."

She added: "We'll continue to invest in our branch network and services across Scotland."