Labour Scottish affairs committee members blast RBS chief

Commenting on the appearance of RBS Retail Banking Chief Executive Les Matheson before the Scottish Affairs Select Committee today, Scottish Labour committee members Ged Killen, Danielle Rowley and Hugh Gaffney expressed disappointment at the quality of information and answers offered about the bank’s current closure plans.

They also noted that, despite the issues raised going to the heart of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s entire purpose as a majority state-owned bank, overall CEO Ross McEwan did not appear.

 Labour MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, Ged Killen, said:

 “RBS customers are being taken for granted. That is why I have taken my own account elsewhere on the high street.

 “But that is not a option for vulnerable people in my constituency who rely on the relationship of trust with their own bank to conduct their financial affairs. And it is no answer for people living in more rural parts of Scotland where the last bank in town is about to shut up shop.”

 Labour MP for Midlothian, Danielle Rowley, said:

 “By Les Matheson’s own admission the sum saved by closing these branches is trifling, while the damage to the communities they serve is beyond measure.

“This is an entirely avoidable bit of bad publicity, and all of the many millions RBS splurges on sponsorship and advertising will not undo that.

“Nobody expects RBS to hold back against an overwhelming tide of progress. But one of the key questions Les Matheson had no answer to was what progress is this – and at what cost?

 “RBS says it is anticipating change to protect its profits, but if that means trampling over its loyal customers on the way to creating banking deserts then that is bad for business.

Labour MP for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill, Hugh Gaffney, said:

“Banks have been at the heart of our communities for hundreds of years. Our ancestors helped to build these businesses up, but that loyalty over the generations is being tested by this.

“Les Matheson seemed to think that customers who don’t move their account when their branch closes are a success story and a vote of confidence.

“It is clear from the arrogant responses we heard today that they think they can take those customers for granted. I sincerely hope they are proved wrong”