Many have been saddened, if not shocked, by the latest round of branch closures announced by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).
I have been a member of that bank since my teens, mainly because it was the only bank based in the village where I live, and I have always stayed with it because it provided a local service to local people.
However, back in 2015 RBS announced it was to close my local branch in Kelty along with others in Aberdour and Inverkiething. I met with representatives of the bank at that time and they told me counter transactions were down, more people were doing online banking and, after all, there was another branch just a few miles down the road at Cowdenbeath.
Once the Kelty branch had shut, I used the Cowdenbeath one when I needed to do transactions and what struck me was just how busy that branch was every time I went in. I remember thinking that the staff were certainly earning their wages as they were kept going the whole time with queues being a permanent feature every time I went in.
It was a surprise then that a year or so later RBS announced they would be closing the Cowdenbeath branch along with Dalgety Bay, Leven, Kirkcaldy Central, Cupar and Anstruther. A few weeks ago, I needed to go to the bank so went to the Dunfermline Branch which was very busy with large queues of people and the staff run off their feet.
Now RBS has announced a further 62 branches are going to close in Scotland, leaving only 89, less than half their main rival.
I know many feel we have been paying the price for RBS’s failures over many years through the austerity that has followed the US mis-selling legacy and on top of this the mis-selling of Payment Protection Insurance.
How can it be that the general public are having to pay the price for the mistakes of the bankers? This is the question so many are still asking. Why is it that the front-line workers are losing their jobs whilst the bankers continue to make excessive money?
I wish I could say I think it will stop here but I am not convinced given the desperation of this bank to increase profits and cut costs. What is next? Charges for the hole in the wall? Never say never when it comes to this bank and their desperate need to make profits to make up for their failures.
Do they care about their customers? Well if they did they would not have gotten into the mess they have – driven by greed and their obsession to make a quick buck. What do they really care about now? Profit.