Royal Bank of Scotland bosses to be quizzed about Borders branch closures today

The Royal Bank of Scotland branch in Melrose is one of six in the region facing closure.
The Royal Bank of Scotland branch in Melrose is one of six in the region facing closure.
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Royal Bank of Scotland bosses will be asked to explain their plans to close 62 branches, including six in the Borders, to MPs today, January 17.

Les Matheson, chief executive for personal and business banking at RBS, and Jane Howard, its managing director for personal banking, will be questioned by members of the UK Government’s Scottish affairs committee about the planned branch closures, resulting in the loss of almost 160 jobs.

The committee will also hear from four other groups likely to be affected – the Post Office, Scottish Rural Action, the union Unite and the Scottish Chambers of Commerce.

Committee chairman Pete Wishart, said: “RBS’s decision to close over 60 branches will have a serious impact on the people of Scotland and may leave some rural communities without a local bank.

“We will want to hear from RBS how such cuts can be justified by a bank that the UK Government, and therefore the taxpayer, still owns the majority stake in.

“We will reserve the right to extend this short inquiry if we feel we do not secure satisfactory responses.

“We are therefore also hoping to hear from the Government and, if necessary, from Ross McEwan, chief executive of RBS.

“When we launched this inquiry, we asked the Scottish public how the planned closures affected them.

“We wanted to understand how vital a bank branch is to businesses and individuals, particularly in remote locations where it may be the only location offering vital services.

“In the session with RBS, we will be putting what we have learnt to senior executives and ask them to explain their decision to close such a high number of branches.”

The session can be seen live from Westminster from 9.30am at www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/ccdc00c5-127d-4c05-9eae-3026698d8c6e

The six Borders branches to be closed this summer are those at Selkirk, Hawick, Jedburgh, Melrose, Eyemouth and Duns.