19 April 2024

Bira has expressed its disappointment following the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) announcement of plans to close 18 branches across Scotland. The closures, affecting 105 jobs, signal a concerning trend of major high street banks withdrawing from local communities.


RBS, now operating under the NatWest Group, cites declining customer footfall as the primary reason for the closures, highlighting the increasing adoption of digital banking services. Despite assurances of no further closures until 2026, the impact on local businesses and communities remains a focal point of concern.


Jeff Moody, Commercial Director for Bira, emphasised the critical role of physical bank branches in supporting businesses and stressed that retailers still have requirements to bank cash.


"Cash remains integral to many businesses, and with the surge in cash transactions from shoppers, the need for accessible banking services on the high street is undeniable. Travelling long distances due to local bank closures puts more concerns on security and time away from shops and trading.


“While we acknowledge the industry-wide shift towards digital banking, the importance of considering the diverse needs of customers, including those who rely on traditional banking services is important. We are campaigning against bank branch closures alongside the necessity for a swift rollout of alternative banking hubs to ensure vital services remain accessible to all.


"The excuse of online banking dominance disregards the tangible effects on people and businesses," said Mr Moody.


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