RBS have announced that they have appointed Johnston Carmichael (Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers) as the independent reviewer that will assess the proposed closure of ten of their branches. The branches covered in this review are: Biggar, Beauly, Castlebay on Barra, Comrie, Douglas in South Lanarkshire, Gretna, Inveraray, Melrose, Kyle of Lochalsh and Tongue.
The criteria that Johnston Carmichael will use to assess each of the branches individually are:
- The suitability of alternative banking options in each respective community.
- The data used by Royal Bank of Scotland since 2014 to take the decision to close the ten branches.
- Whether changes in branch use and local circumstances since the announcement of the closures.
- Feedback from local customers, local representatives, employees and stakeholders.
We are pleased to see that consultation with local customers will be assessed, but we are worried about the lack of clarity around this process. It is really important that rural communities get an opportunity to meaningfully and constructively engage in this process and let them know what is happening locally. For this reason, we are encouraging as many individuals and affected organisations, businesses, etc to feed into this process.
Johnston Carmichael can be contacted via email: RBSbranchreview@jcca.co.uk, or by post: RBS Branch Review Team, Johnston Carmichael LLP, 29 Albyn Place, Aberdeen AB10 1YL.
The review period ends in September (we are seeking a firm date) when they will submit recommendations to RBS – and RBS will then uphold the recommendations on each branch.
If these are your local branches we recommend you write to Johnston Carmichael and address as many of the four bullet points above. If you have any further information you wish to share that is not covered in these points, but you feel is important, please do add this to your submission.