Royal Bank of Scotland: Scotland

Treasury written question – answered on 17th May 2018.

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Photo of Lesley Laird Lesley Laird Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with the Royal Bank of Scotland on branch closures in Scotland.

Photo of Lesley Laird Lesley Laird Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with representatives of the Royal Bank of Scotland on reductions in mobile banking services in Scotland.

Photo of John Glen John Glen Minister of State (Treasury) (City), The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors, including RBS, as part of the process of policy development and delivery. Details of ministerial and permanent secretary meetings with external organisations on departmental business are published on a quarterly basis and are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hmt-ministers-meetings-hospitality-gifts-and-overseas-travel

RBS Group retains its own board which is responsible for commercial and operational decisions, including in relation to its branch network. The Government’s shareholding in RBS Group is managed at arm's length and on a commercial basis through UK Financial Investments Ltd, a company which is wholly owned by the Government.

How banks choose to provide their services is a commercial matter, and the Government does not intervene in those decisions. However, the impact of closures on communities must be understood, considered and mitigated, where possible.

Government supports the industry’s Access to Banking Standard, launched in May 2017, which commits banks to ensure personal and business customers are better informed about branch closures and the reasons for them closing, along with the options they have locally to continue to access banking services. The Access to Banking Standard is monitored and enforced by the independent Lending Standards Board.

Government also supports the Post Office’s banking framework agreement which enables 99% of personal and 95% of banks’ business customers to conduct their everyday banking services at a Post Office counter via its network of 11,600 branches. In March, in response to my request, the Post Office and UK Finance committed to joint work to raise public awareness of the banking services available at the Post Office for individuals and small and medium-sized enterprises.

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