MP: 'Undervaluing of the personal touch on financial matters is reaching epidemic proportions'

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 2 May 2018

Grimsby MP Melanie Onn has described the “undervaluing” of the personal touch on finance as becoming an “epidemic” in the wake of the RBS closure announcement in the town centre.

The company has listed changing banking habits as the reason, as well as the duplication of branches due to its ownership of NatWest.

It follows a round of HSBC closures which also pointed to more customers using the web to conduct transactions. 

Ms Onn, who was written to by RBS, said: “I am really disappointed by the news from RBS that they are planning to close their Grimsby branch.

“The undervaluing of the face to face aspect of matters relating to personal and business finance has become an epidemic.

“I asked RBS what they have done in the last 12 months to encourage customers to use branch facilities, and whether there had been a diversification of products or offers in the branch. I would be very disheartened to think they had not fought at every turn to retain the facilities in the heart of Grimsby’s town centre.

“I hope the business has fully considered the impact on the community. The bank must commit to redeploying the staff currently employed in-branch, and there must be no compulsory redundancies.

“I fear that the Government isn’t doing enough to support our local high streets – not just in Grimsby – but in towns the length and breadth of the country.

“The loss of yet another facility in the town centre will have wide ranging effects. Another hard-to-let empty building, on a row where the recently vacated space of BBC Radio Humberside also sits, is a blow. So too is the loss of yet more banking facilities which reduces options for customers.”

As reported, RBS made the announcement on Tuesday, with Scunthorpe’s High Street branch also on the list of 162 across England and Wales. Hull’s Silver Street branch has survived.

The financial institution is still 72 per cent owned by the taxpayer, and said it was down to a decision not to sell its Williams & Glyn ‘challenger bank’ business, which would have included them in its portfolio.

As a result, the group is seeking to reduce overlap.

In Grimsby NatWest is just yards further down Victoria Street’s pedestrianised area, and in Scunthorpe it is even closer - 10 doors away on the same block.

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