Royal Bank of Scotland Group’s (LON:RBS) plans to close more than a third of its branches in Scotland are to be investigated by a parliamentary committee, The Times has reported. Last week, the lender announced that it will close 259 bank branches and reduce its staff by 680, with the move angering the Unite union, which accused the part government-owned lender of betraying communities.
RBS’ share price has jumped in London this morning, having added 1.81 percent to 280.08p as of 08:51 GMT, outperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.06 percent higher at 7,325.42 points. The group’s shares have added more than 27 percent to their value this year, as compared with about a 5.6-percent rise in the Footsie.
RBS faces scrutiny
The Times reported this morning that RBS was facing scrutiny over its plans to close branches in Scotland which were described as ‘a total surprise’ by Pete Wishart MP, who will chair the Scottish affairs committee inquiry into the move.
MPs on the committee will look into the impact of the cuts, especially in rural areas, and ask the bank to reconsider its decision in some cases.
“We want to understand what’s behind the decision and explore the bank’s commitments and obligations to the public given they are majority-owned by the taxpayer,” Wishart pointed out. “We think they will be need to reconsider closures.”
Lender to cooperate
And RBS spokesman told The Times that the lender would fully cooperate with the Scottish affairs committee, and that the bank had taken the decision to close the branches following “an extensive review and careful consideration of local factors; including the other ways customers will be able to bank locally”.