Motion on banking diversity goes to Scottish Parliament

By staff writers
January 15, 2014

Describing reports that UK Labour leader Ed Miliband is to propose a cap on the size of banks as "underwhelming", Scottish Greens and their allies have stepped up their calls for diversity in the banking sector.

In the Scottish Parliament, two Greens and three independents work together to form a radical block in relation to the main parties, the SNP and Labour, and the smaller opposition parties, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives.

Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian and a member of Holyrood's economy committee, has lodged a motion in the Parliament calling on the Scottish Government to negotiate the transfer of RBS operations in Scotland to create a network of local banks.

The motion also expresses concern at the latest warnings of job losses at RBS.

The Edinburgh-based banking giant is understood to be preparing to shed thousands more posts following the 40,000 already axed since the financial crash in 2008.

Ms Johnstone explained: "Further job losses would be devastating for local families and our communities. It underlines the need for a cultural shift in banking. We need a more diverse banking sector providing job security, supporting small businesses and serving the public.

"If we look to Germany we see a successful network of small Sparkassen banks which make a profit but also benefit local economies. I've put a series of questions to Scottish ministers to see what they could do now to emulate that success, and put our financial sector on a firmer footing."

In full the Motion reads:

“That the Parliament understands with concern that RBS staff expect to face significant reductions in job numbers in 2014; believes that Scotland needs a more diverse and resilient banking sector that is able to provide sustainable employment, finance small businesses and demonstrably serve the public interest; notes what it sees as Germany's successful network of small Sparkasse (savings) banks, which are run by professional bankers in order to make a profit and to benefit local economies, and believes that, to help create a more diverse and resilient banking sector, the Scottish Government should negotiate the transfer of the domestic banking operations of RBS in Scotland to a subsidiary in public ownership and split the institution into a network of local banks that would serve only their city or region, be governed by local stakeholders and hold a dual social and financial mandate.”

* Scottish Greens briefing - A local banking vision for Scottish RBS (*.PDF Adobe Acrobat document):


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