Unite Scotland has called a bank’s decision to close 62 branches “morally bankrupt”.
Mary Alexander, Scottish deputy secretary of Unite, said the Royal Bank of Scotland had reneged on promises to keep branches open in rural areas and called on the Scottish government to force the bank to change course.
She wrote to Paul Wheelhouse, Minister of Business, Innovation and Energy.
She wrote: “A few years ago – during a previous shutdown program – the directors of RBS pledged never to close any of their branches when it was” the last bank in town “.
“They have long since reneged on this promise.
“They say they are the Royal Bank of Scotland. Tell the people of Bannockburn, Beauly, Biggar, Carnwath, Castlebay, Corrie, Douglas Lanarkshire, Gretna, Inveraray, Kilwinning, Melrose, Stepps, Tongue.
“The plans are not actually about inefficient and mostly underutilized services.
“They are about money and doing more for the shareholders of RBS. We actually think RBS is morally bankrupt.”
The union said it also believed the bank had failed in its duty to consult with local communities affected by potential closures.
Ms Alexander noted: “RBS directors and officers are obligated to consult with local communities about local branch closures.
“Whether this has actually been done across Scotland seems at this stage at least open to serious questions.
“The public outrage that is growing in local communities as the closure program is revealed seems to attest to this.”
Mr Wheelhouse said: “I would, of course, be happy to meet with Unite to discuss the impact of the closures on staff and customers and their ideas for dealing with the closures.
“However, given that the relevant legal and regulatory powers in banking matters remain with the UK government and the UK government also owns a majority stake in RBS, I would seek to discuss with Unite how much pressure we can jointly exert on the government UK to use its position to act in the best interests of the customers, communities and businesses that will be affected by branch closures.
“I have already spoken with senior management at RBS on Friday and will seek help for a joint meeting with the UK government and RBS, urgently, when I discuss the issues with the Economic Secretary to the Treasury.”
A spokesperson for RBS said the majority of branches closing in Scotland (72%) would have either a community banker or a mobile branch stop available.
She said: “We have listened carefully to feedback from local communities and have extended the time between announcing our decision and closing the branch to six months.
“This was done to ensure our clients have time to consider the right banking options for them.
“Customers will also have a range of alternative means of banking, including: online and mobile for simple transactions, phone and online chat for assisted help and the post office for face-to-face interactions. . “
An independent review of the bank access protocol in 2016 aimed to minimize the impact of branch bank closures on customers and local communities.
The RBS spokesperson added: “According to the bank access standard, banks are not required to consult with communities before announcing a closure, as Unite suggests.”