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RBS Ads Banned for ‘Misleading’ Claim on Being Last Bank in Town

Television advertising for Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc saying the company and its NatWest brand would “continue to provide banking services wherever we’re the last bank in town” was banned by U.K. regulators.

A lawmaker and the Campaign for Community Banking Services complained that there was at least one place, Farsley in northern England, where NatWest closed the town’s last bank, the Advertising Standards Authority said in a statement on its website.

The “misleading” ad “would be interpreted by viewers to mean that NatWest would not close a branch where it was the last one in its immediate locality,” the regulator said.

RBS said that although the Farsley branch closed, bank services were still available at the NatWest in a nearby town, and that the company’s promise of keeping banking services available wasn’t a vow to keep branches open. Another closed branch in Bettyhill, northern Scotland, was later served by a mobile bank, RBS said in the statement.

“We are proud of our commitment to offer services in towns where other banks have closed, and we currently do this in 168 locations,” RBS said in an e-mailed statement when asked about the ruling. “Our commitment is independently assessed by Deloitte. While we disagree with the ASA’s decision, we welcome their offer to work more closely with them in the future.”

-- Editors: Keith Campbell, Stephen Taylor

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