Please find below a briefing note ahead of the House of Commons, Adjournment Debate on “RBS branch closures in rural areas” (Ian Blackford, SNP, Ross, Skye and Lochaber) on Monday 18 December.

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The Countryside Alliance welcomes this debate on banking in rural areas. Sweeping bank closures are being blamed by banks on the lack of usage, with fewer and fewer users going into their local branch and preferring to bank online. However, closures in rural areas, especially in the absence of reliable mobile or broadband connectivity can present particularly serious challenges. The personal finance sector is undergoing rapid change, not least with the growth of internet, telephone and mobile banking. However, access to cash remains important for many households and businesses in rural areas.

Countryside Alliance calls for:

  • Access to Banking Protocol to ensure that when a branch is moved or closed customers are made aware of the banking services offered by the nearest post office.
  • The Post Office and banks to standardise the banking services offered over the post office counter.
  • Digital connectivity and skills to be improved to ensure those living and working in rural areas are able to access banking services online.