Responding to the announcement earlier in the year that the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is to close its remaining branches in Bedfordshire, branch leader Charlie Smith, said: “It’s thoroughly disappointing to see RBS using the failed sale of Williams & Glyn as an excuse to further decimate Bedfordshire’s bank branch network.
"When the Luton branch closes in a four weeks’ time and then the Bedford one closes in the Autumn, there will be no face to face presence anywhere in the county for RBS customers whether commercial or domestic.
"This fresh round of closures will hurt high streets in the county at a time when thousands of small businesses are already struggling. When a bank branch goes, it means less footfall, less cash in the local economy and less revenue for local small firms as a result.
“If small businesses can’t easily deposit takings it makes them targets for theft. Many small business owners have built up relationships with branch personnel that go back years – that’s not something that can be replaced by an app.”
Charlie continued: “ We would like to see the Government identify the impact of branch closures on economic activity in places like Bedford and Luton which would state what costs are being imposed on businesses in terms of productivity and whether these are forcing small business owners into inefficient practices. The UK is struggling with productivity issues and having your local branch close does not help. ”
Charlie also stated that FSB have their own banking services for members in partnership with the Co-op Bank of which there is still a branch in in Alma Street, Luton.
He added: “For members who join up for our banking services, there are no charges for everyday banking services, it is free to pay in up to £2,000 cash per month, which can be done through the local Post Office network and there is an annual £25 loyalty bonus.
He continued: “Whilst there is a branch in Luton, if small businesses are losing their bank’s local branch, it makes even more sense to look seriously at this and other options to meet their banking needs.”