Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith has criticised the decision by RBS to close 60% of its Williams and Glyn bank network, including three in south Manchester, as unions across the country launch campaign to against branch closures.
According to figures supplied by RBS, these closure plans represent 162 branches being removed from high streets and almost 1,000 members of staff being made redundant across the country.
The North-West Is disproportionately affected with 64 branches identified for closure, leaving some RBS customers with no access to another branch within a 5-mile radius.
In south Manchester, three branches are scheduled for closure in Didsbury, Chorlton and Withington[i]. RBS customers are able to use Natwest branches for their everyday banking services such as cash withdrawals, checking balances, and deposits. However full banking facilities, including access to loans for small businesses, mortgages and financial advice will not be available.
Jeff Smith today said:
“These planned closures in south Manchester will leave customers paying the price of gross mismanagement by RBS’ senior leadership.
After wasting £1.8 billion on a failed bid to split up the bank[ii], RBS now moves to demolish local bank branches which elderly customers and small businesses rely on.
It is simply not good enough for RBS to advise their customers to use Natwest branches. For my constituents in Withington, these closures mean travelling up to 2 miles to their local bank, only to receive a severely reduced service.
“I have written to RBS Chief Executive Ross McEwan to outline the concerns of my constituents.”
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has already said:
“High street bank closures have become an epidemic in the last few years, blighting our town centres, and hurting particularly elderly and more vulnerable customers whilst making healthy profits.
It’s time our banks recognise instead that they are a utility providing an essential public service.
Only Labour will put in place the legal obligations needed to bring banks into line and stand up for our high streets, communities and small businesses.”
[i] The following branches are schedule for closure:
- West Didsbury, Lapwing Ln, M20 6UR (Closing 15/08/18)
- Chorlton – 464 Wilbraham Road, M21 9AR (Closing (15/08/18)
- Withington – 467 Wilmslow Rd M20 4AN (Closing 22/11/18)
[ii] RBS spent £1.8 billion last year in a move to set up Williams and Glyn as a stand-alone bank. However, the proposed sell-off failed, with the bank unable to find a buyer.