CAMPAIGN PROGRESS – RBS to review 10 branch closures


RBS have agreed to review the closure of ten bank branches in Scotland: Biggar, Beauly, Castlebay on Barra, Comrie, Douglas in South Lanarkshire, Gretna, Inveraray, Melrose, Kyle of Lochalsh and Tongue.

As pressure from rural communities and their representatives has increased on RBS, they have agreed to review the closure of 10 branches and are offering an enhanced package of support for affected communities. The branches under review will stay open for the next 11 months, before a review of income and transactions takes place.

Emma Cooper, Chief Executive of Scottish Rural Action, said “This is small step in the right direction from RBS, who have shown little care and compassion towards loyal customers in rural areas over this matter to date. They still have a long way to go to restore themselves as trustworthy and we will be continuing to apply pressure to see further concessions from RBS.

“RBS should have consulted with communities before the decisions were made, and we could have avoided some of the upset and anger caused by the bank. We will still be pressuring them to reconsider their decisions over the 52 branches still scheduled for imminent closure, and we have concerns over the format and transparency of the review that will now take place.

“Nonetheless we are proud of those communities who have made their strong feelings on this matter clear through their responses to us, petitioning, protests and other actions. Our rural communities cannot and should not be ignored.”

The branches closures which will now be reviewed are mostly where there is no other branch within 9 miles.

The additional support to be offered includes improving ATM access for affected communities, giving empty branches to community groups free of charge, reviewing opening hours of branches remaining open and potentially even opening more branches – something that will seem an odd move to some and on which we will be seeking further clarity.

Emma Cooper


Emma joined SRA in 2014 and was our Chief Executive until February 2019. She is going to be touring in a mega motorhome so might be out of touch with us for a while.

2 thoughts on “CAMPAIGN PROGRESS – RBS to review 10 branch closures

  • 10th April 2018 at 3:07 pm

    Yes, all very fine and dandy, but what has SRA done to try and stop RBS from shutting the branch in Barra?

    • Emma Cooper
      12th April 2018 at 6:05 pm

      Hi Peter,

      We are deeply concerned about all of the bank branch closures in rural Scotland, and we presented evidence about this to the Scottish Affairs Committee in the House of Commons in January this year, alongside RBS executives. The UK Government has to hold RBS to account and challenge their decisions and are the only body that can legislate to address the issue. At that meeting, RBS confirmed that their financial gain from the closures is minimal. The report we presented is available here:

      We have a meeting scheduled with RBS executives soon about the closures and measures that they should be taking to mitigate the impact. We will report back to communities on this in due course.

      We have also been working with Jeanne Freeman MSP to highlight the issue as one which discriminated against people with disabilities, who often face difficulties accessing the mobile banking vans, and we will be requesting that the Scottish Government Equalities and Human Rights Committee carry out a more detailed examination of this issue.

      The pressure that ourselves, communities and other organisations have been placing in RBS has resulted in some concessions, although not substantial or satisfactory ones in our view.

      If you’d like to get in touch with Emma Cooper, our Chief Executive, who has been leading this issue to discuss further, you can get her on


      Emma Cooper
      Chief Executive
      Scottish Rural Action


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