Thursday, 3 April 2014
I have today slammed Royal Bank of Scotland management for deploying disingenuous and fictitious arguments when trying to justify its proposed closure of the Perth Road Branch.
When I initially contacted the bank to express concern about the proposed closure, the bank’s response indicated that a key factor in its decision was drop in customer usage of the branch and it cited a 30% reduction in branch transactions since 2010 across its bank network.
Being aware of the fact that the branch continues to be very well used by customers in the local community, I replied asking for details of the actual customer usage at the branch in the past five years. The bank has now had to admit that customer use at the Perth Road Branch has not fallen in way usage has fallen in other branches. You can read their latest letter received by me today here.
As I have now said to the Royal Bank, it was therefore inappropriate for the bank to promote the branch usage decline argument in the earlier response to me, given that it simply does not apply in the case of this branch, as I had suspected all along.
The bank now puts forward another argument – that customers are “prepared to travel short distances” - and this would have some resonance were it not for the fact that the bank has already closed all the branches that were in or a short distance of the West End – Ninewells Hospital, Balfour Street and Lochee High Street. It is somewhat ironic that at the time these former branches were closed, the bank justified the closure by pointing out that there was a continuing branch within distance at Perth Road.
I am rather concerned that the banks should marshal arguments for closure that stand up to no scrutiny whatsoever. I have therefore now formally written to RBS to request that the bank rescinds the decision to close the branch, recognising that continuing high customer usage at it justifies it continuing to serve the West End community.