Open Letter to Ross McEwan

July 15, 2016

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27:  Ross McEwan, Chief Executive of RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland) speaks to reporters and investors on February 27, 2014 in London, England. RBS has announced a pre-tax loss of £8.2bn for 2013, the biggest since the bank was rescued by the UK tax payer.  (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

In light of our new report, Abandoned Communities, and the precipitous crash of RBS’ share price, this week we wrote to Ross McEwan to once again push the case for an RBS run in the public interest. Here is the text we sent in full:

Dear Ross McEwan,

Back in May we attended the RBS AGM, and for the second year in a row raised the issue of bank branch closures with the board of executives. In our question we asked if you and the Chairman would be willing to meet with Move Your Money, to which you replied “if there’s anything new you can bring to me, I’m very happy to listen.”

Given your response we thought you would be very interested to read our new research report entitled Abandoned Communities, which quantifies for the first time the social and economic impact of bank branch closures on those communities they leave behind. The analysis is based exclusively on RBS & NatWest bank branch closures, and so should be of great relevance and interest to yourself, the board, and the bank as a whole.

Utilising the British Bankers Association postcode lending data, we demonstrate that RBS & NatWest bank branch closures have a significant and severe impact on local SME lending growth, which is a key component for sustaining viable and prosperous local economies. This is particularly the case, with the effects even more pronounced, in areas that lose their “last bank in town”.

The research also reports widespread accusations of manipulation by the bank of branch usage figures on the local level, which were reported to us by local campaigners, activists and staff members who opposed the closure of their local RBS & NatWest branches. In light of the RBS banking group having been the worst bank for branch closures over the last two years, these findings give us great cause for concern, which we would like to discuss with you at greater length.

In the current political climate and in light of the latest collapse in RBS’ share price following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, it seems clear that RBS bank will continue to be owned on behalf of the British public for some time to come, and certainly until the end of this decade at the very least.

We feel that these developments collectively constitute the requisite “new information” that you set as the criteria for us to meet to discuss these issues.

Consequently, we ask again – will you and the Chairman now make good on your word, and agree to meet Move Your Money to discuss the crisis of bank branch closures across the UK and the role that RBS could play in resolving this crisis?

We look forward to your response to this letter, and to hearing your reflections on our research.

Yours sincerely,

Move Your Money

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