In short, there is nothing that the Scottish government can do to stop this loss-making semi-nationalised company closing a large part of its network of branches in Scotland, even though it promised that it would never leave a town without a bank.

RBS was 73% owned by the British government at the end of 2015 (the latest figures I could find). If the British government wishes to do something about the closures, it is the major shareholder. Despite the fact that he will have to sell the shares at a massive loss, Philip Hammond is intending to do just that.

Getting rid of the 62 branches in Scotland along with 197 branches of NatWest in England will make it a leaner operation and more attractive to buyers. So, maybe this has been done in collusion with Hammond, given he represents the largest shareholder.

To the best of my knowledge, the Scottish government has no shares in the company.

It’s a great pity that the Unite Union and the BBC couldn’t work that out for themselves.


  1. I believe however that Mr Leonard has called on the Unite Union to put pressure on the UK government to intervene in this matter so he has presumably strayed off – message by failing to identify the Scottish Government (incorrectly of course) as responsible for stopping the closures. He won’t last long at this rate !

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Maybe we should run a book on how long before they replace him.

        They tell me Kez is coming home though, so that’s something to cheer us up. She didn;t get a chance to sell Labour values on that show she was on. I suspected that the producers might feel that an audience that wanted to watch people eating grubs, and were hoping for a sight of flesh, were hardly likely to be interested in getting a lecture on Labour values.

        Still, they tell me the fee was into 3 figures.

        So, it’s an ill wind….

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Remember when they punched the air at the Labour Party Conference when the RBS buckled?

        I do.

        See they said how could an indendent Scotland handle that mess?

        The Mess is still there and the banks, under control of Westminster are still pulling the same tricks of inventing money, buying intangibles and commoditising them.

        As night foollows day, shite follows May

        Liked by 4 people

        1. Panda: They seemed to forget that these banks were regulated in London, and that in any case, it was the City where the catastrophic trading had occurred. Of course, the head office was in Edinburgh (in the case of RBS),

          Funny we heard so little about how incompetent any of them were in the City or indeed in Halifax.


    1. Goodness, I thought he was well versed in SNP BAAAAAAD.

      Maybe after his water faux pas he has decided to check up on stuff before he makes statements. You might have though that the BBC had someone who could do a little investigation …

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I will never ever forget or forgive that some peculiar mysterious ruthless group of City of London manipulators, probably at the request of even more mysterious and more powerful manipulators of finance, arranged for the old and careful RBS, inexplicably, to team up with the mess that was Nat West, wreathed in scandals and wobbling towards an even messier end. Very soon afterwards RBS started to melt down. Same thing happened to Bank of Scotland which sank into Thatcher’s privatised Halifax BS….same pattern. Scotland has been mugged again and again in all sorts of ways. The current state of RBS is an example , but RBS long ago ceased to be anything much to do with Scotland.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yep. the place that made all the losses in RBS, as I understand it, was the London merchant banking section. It was nothing to do with the branch office at Aberfeldy or Crianlarich.

      I left RBS after they got in that mess.

      TSB was the only other bank locally, and I opened an account with them. Recently they wrote to say that in order to improve their service they were closing my local branch.

      I’m at a loss to understand why that improved their service to me.

      Now I have to walk or take the car into the town centre and stand in a long queue. Fortunately I do do on-line banking, but I sometimes have money to pay in, and you cant do that online.

      RBS is really NatWest.


      1. Good point, Conan. Thanks for reminding me of that Economist cover – I’ve seldom seen anything so gratuitously offensive. It must have taken a real wit to come up with all those hilarious names – Obankrupt, Grieff, Stalling, Edinborrow, eh? Or maybe someone who was 50% on the way to being a wit – a half-wit. Mind you, I don’t think we should be surprised at the sneering from the gilded denizens of the Home Cunties (typo surely?)

        Liked by 3 people

        1. That made and still makes my flesh creep.

          The question I always want to ask them is: Given that Ireland, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Greenland and the Faroes share, roughly, our geographic location in the world, have similar climates, and populations around the same size or smaller (I know Sweden is larger), how is it that they can manage without the oversight of Theresa May and Boris Johnson, Philip Hammond and Liam Fox? How is it that they actually seem to be doing better without these clowns?

          What is it about Scottish people that makes us so incapable of what these other people can do? Why are they cleverer than us? After all, after 300+ years of being “nurtured” by Britain, shouldn’t we be the greatest nation on earth? What exactly causes us to be so much less capable than a country with only 400 thousand people?

          We need to know, Economist.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Don’t start me, just don’t start me. Bank of Scotland was one of the worlds best retail banks. It was always ahead of the game and looked after its customers. Was quickly destroyed when Halifax took it over in a hostile takeover. All the actual bankers were got rid of. Didn’t take long after that for the good lady and myself to close our accounts. That had been me banking with them since I was serving my time. Scotland was asset stripped, pure and simple.


    1. I saw some people sneering about the SNP’s demands that if Ireland could get a deal and stay in the market, Scotland should. That was before the real prime minister stopped the negotiations in its tracks.

      Of course, if part of the UK stays in the SM/CU then companies will rush to open works/ factories/offices there.

      Why should Scotland be tied to the dying duck ?


  4. Friends who still bank with the RBS shysters have been told they can use the post office. But post offices don’t have cash machines. RBS don’t care.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We need a National Bank of Scotland, owned by us and not listed on the Stock Market.

    Some US States actually have that and were less touched by the ladt big clusterfuck

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In Germany and Austria, local savings banks are very popular. Of course we had TSBs until they were stolen. In Ireland, Credit Unions are found everywhere. They are owned by the savers and operate under state and EU supervision. Ireland still has crap banks like the British ones too.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. In Dundee we do have a credit union – the Discovery Credit Union, URL http://www.discoverycu.co.uk/. My vast erudition and peerless googling skills tell me that there are 101 credit unions in Scotland, and “Everyone in Scotland has at least one credit union they can join” – that’s from http://www.abculscotland.coop/credit-unions/creditunionsscotland.

          Here’s a handy list: http://www.moneysupermarket.com/money-made-easy/find-a-credit-union-in-scotland/.

          I use the Discovery Credit Union. Their banking services are pretty basic, like the other Scottish credit unions, I believe, but our credit unions won’t – statement of the bleeding obvious – grow and develop unless more people put their money into them.

          The credit union (for UN staff and their dependants) which I used at the United Nations in New York provided a full service – cheques, ATM/debit card, credit card, mortgages, various savings and investment vehicles. If the Discovery Credit Union provided that sort of service – like the TSB used to do before it got swallowed up, digested, and became all keechified – I would use them for all my financial stuff, and dump my bank on the spot.

          The Scottish Government is all in favour of credit unions, according to my information, but of course it can’t change any restrictions on them because – yes – you got it in one – banking is a reserved matter. So the people who brought us the financial crash of 2007 / 2008 can do it to us all over again, no doubt because we are too wee, too poor and too stupid to run our own banking and financial system. Talk about being f[censored]ed over… does no one ever ask what the Westminster regime’s plan B is?

          Slight change in topic – one of the reasons the BritNats loathe the SNP-led Scottish Government, one of the reasons they cry catastrophe in the NHS, in schools, on the railways and so on, is because they cannot bear the idea that Scotland is now being governed better than it ever has been before, better than anywhere else in the UK, and is succeeding in combating most of the Westminster regime’s nasty little bits of perfidy aimed at enabling Them to dump the devolution settlement and impose direct rule because of the “failure” of the Scottish Government. That is the tone of their propaganda. SNPBAAAAAAD. Fail, fail, crisis, ineptitude, and why aren’t we Cringing… Oh, how They would love, love, love our Government – and us – to fail.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. There’s a little bit of Argyll which does not have access to a credit union, mair’s the pity. Kids will lose all sense of what cash/money actually is in the future, shame because cashless is pretty useless in areas with no signal, or to pay the windae cleaner or the myriad of folks who make up a rural economy!

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Cashless is unfair on poor folk.

              What if you don’t have a computer or smart phone? What if, as you say you have terrible connectivity?

              What if you’re elderly and never got in to this online stuff anyway?

              And as you say, how do you pay the window cleaner, or tip the lad that brought your pizza?

              Or give your nephew a couple of quid for sweeties?

              Liked by 1 person

        2. They would be instantly targeted for destruction by the big banks just like the Airdrie Savings bank.

          They would need protection and they would not get it under the present regime from either Tories or Labour (whatever conman Corbyn tries to put over).

          Liked by 1 person

    2. We used to have a bank called ‘National Bank of Scotland’ which merged with or was taken over by the Commercial Bank of Scotland resulting in the National Commercial Bank of Scotland which then merged with/took over Royal Bank of Scotland with the resultant business retaining the RBS name.

      Liked by 3 people

        1. I know people say it all the time, but very few of us reflect on what the phrase “make money” actually means. It used to be that only the Mint could make money. If anyone else tries it, it’s called counterfeiting, though banks seem to be able to do it too… So – money can be printed, issued, earned, paid as interest, but “made” – hmmm. Consider also the idioms “on the make” and “on the take”.

          Check out the notion of “positive money”- see URL http://positivemoney.org/ for details. It may appear to be bonkers, but that’s only because we’ve become used to the neoliberal consensus that has prevailed for so long, even though we realize that it is in fact a spectacular failure – or rather, it persists at the cost of massive social and economic injustice, and with the constant hazard of collapse. So why do we persist with it? Well, we know why: because he who pays the piper calls the tune. Also, there is the appropriate and typically cheery Russian proverb that goes something like ‘if you can thole it, you end up falling in love with it’.

          All that phantom dosh They conjured out of thin air and electronic transfers, and called “quantitative easing” – in other words, running the printing presses to “make” more money – magic money from the magic money tree that They used to pay the banks’ gambling debts – would have been better used as tax credits to us ordinary punters. As far as I can tell, most of that quantitative easing dosh got creamed off in the form of massive bonuses to top management, rewarding them magnificently and munificently for failure, money which They then hid from the Revenue in the Cayman Islands or wherever – thereby increasing financial inequality even further, benefiting the top 1%, and the rest of us not at all. As I was saying – on the make and on the take.

          Rant over.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. I think we should remember the brighter folk moved to the SNP and Yes, so the pool left is very small. Though trade unionists should know what reserved and devolved powers are.
    In the literature for the next Referendum the first page should clearly lay out what these powers are.
    The thing is, Corbyn and Co were the ones around when devolution was set up, they should know, or at least have some niggling memories of what it was about.
    Personally I believe it was never in Labour’s interest to let people know, as it was never in their interest to teach Scottish history, ancient or modern. It showed how little they had done to protect Scotland.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True.

      Even if their memories are shaky, surely they should check up on stuff (or get staff to) before they make major speeches.

      And surely even the dimmest of people will remember that back in 2008, it was all Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown who dealt with the chaos they had created.

      There might have been a wee hint there that banking was a London responsibility.

      I’ve always wondered about Labour. An independent Scotland might have been presumed back 10 years ago to elect Labour governments and to have no interference from the inevitable Tory or Toryesque administrations of London.

      Why does Labour not want this? I can only think that their senior people really see themselves strutting the world stage … with Xi, Abdullah, Macron, Merkel and Trump, as opposed to mixing with the leaders of Norway, Iceland, Greenland and the Faroes as Nicola Sturgeon does.

      Maybe as the UK diminishes into a little offshore island they will think twice about that… or maybe they won’t. As you say, some of the bright ones have left for more stimulating company!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I like the idea of stopping them using the word “Scotland” in their trade names. Both RBS and BoS are no longer Scottish banks in anything but name. Of course, they’d have to think up something else, because the Royal Bank is actually Coutt’s, as I understand it, and you can’t really have a Bank of Nowhere, can you… Yes, let’s strip them of the “Scotland” in their names, and any saltires they have floating around – we don’t want the Scottish brand cheapened by them any more.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. On my way back from Ninewells just now, the ambulance driver had on Tay FM or whatever it’s called, and they played an ad for the Royal Bank – “Scotland’s Bank”, it said. In the wake of the 67 branch closures, or whatever it is, I found that ad particularly distasteful. I had a definite feeling that we Scots were being laughed at. Maybe I’m just being paranoid or something, but dead air would have been preferable right at the moment.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Ach, I’m OK. Just being poked and prodded a bit. The verdict is to leave well enough alone, and not tamper with anything in case it improves things worse.

            Thanks for asking!

            As for the ad for RBS, it left me feeling I wanted to wring someone’s neck. Do you think the mood of the meeting is that RBS is not a Scottish bank and has not been for some time? As you know, I wish our Government could strip the “Scotland” out of the names of both RBS and BoS, though RBS is much the worse offender. We like to have truth in advertising, after all, and there is no real association with Scotland any more, so…

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Yes, I wish they would too.

              But most of all I’d like to see a national Bank of Scotland.

              I’m OK with Credit Unions too.

              I wish we could legislate in Edinburgh for bankingt

              Liked by 1 person

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