Fife Council’s £276k bank bill

Fife Council's contract with RBS doesn't run out until March, 2020.
Fife Council's contract with RBS doesn't run out until March, 2020.

Fife Council’s leaders have called for a meeting with the chief executive of RBS to explain the bank’s future banking policy for the region.

It follows the latest Royal Bank of Scotland branch closures and the news that the mobile banking facility, relied upon by many communities across the Kingdom, will be reduced.

In a motion put before full council this week, Cllr Linda Holt called on the leaders to reconsider the council’s contract with RBS after it was revealed that it paid £276,000 in bank charges in 2017/18.

“We need to send a clear message to RBS that Fife Council is no longer willing to accept the reduction in banking services.

“There seems to be no consideration of the extensive social and economic impact on small communities, particularly where RBS is the only banking provider in that area.

“Despite the extensive reduction in branches, ATMs and the mobile banking service, there is no promise that there won’t be further cuts.

“Politicians at all levels have protested but RBS has turned a deaf ear.

“There is widespread frustration that 71 per cent of RBS is owned by the tax payer and frustration that the bank has just announced that it made a £1.2billion pre tax profit for the first three months of this year, 70 per cent up on the same period in 2017.”

Cllr Holt called on the administration to consider retendering for its business but was warned by joint leaders David Ross and David Alexander that the council’s hands were effectively tied in a contract with RBS that does not expire until March 2020.

“I and everyone across this chamber is agreed that there is dissatisfaction with the banking situation in Fife, but there are some contractual difficulties in moving our banking before that date and could well incur substantial charges if we where to do so,” said Cllr Ross.

“There are significant time delays in considering tenders and we must be aware that the last time Fife Council tendered its banking business only two banks came forward.

“Further more, it’s unclear at present whether the council would have the legal power to stop RBS from tendering once again.

“However, we are a major customer of RBS locally and we would consider to have some influence from that, so let’s see if we can get around the table to discuss the concerns.”

An amendment calling on RBS to work with the council to preserve the remaining service in Fife was agreed.