THE notice on the wall of my local RBS branch warned that it would soon close although, in my admittedly infrequent visits, there was always a queue snaking from door to counter. Customers were advised not to worry as there is a nearby branch available. Well "nearby" is relative and a bus ride away. (Parking at that location is impossible, so driving there is not an option.) Should customers make their way to their new branch they will find themselves in what resembles a despairingly dull amusement arcade, lined with key pads and video screens. I cannot think I am the only long-standing customer of RBS to feel a sense of abandonment.

It is very easy for management to focus on reducing fixed costs and to close branches in response to changes in the market place. What is not so easy to do is to recognise the contribution made by these branches in representing the physical existence of the bank. Every high street branch, every illuminated RBS sign acts as a large-scale advertising poster, both reminding customers of their commitment to the bank (and vice versa), and as a medium to capture new business.

Customers felt a sense of connection with the bank and stayed with it despite the appearance many competitors. Now, there are bands of experts quick to point out that this is not the way to conduct your affairs – switching providers is the approach consumers should take to get the best deal. But although the attachment to the bank may have been naive sentimentality on behalf of the customers, in commercial terms that translates as Brand Loyalty, a quality that many businesses spend time and money building up; and that is what RBS is currently demolishing.

There is a hint that the bank's management has belatedly come to have some perception of the consequences of its actions. Hence the full-page adverts in the press extolling the many ways customers can access the banks services. This campaign has all the signs of a desperate rearguard action, with the claim that it is the Royal Bank for Scotland the most hollow of boasts.

Many of the long-standing and formerly loyal customers are not so unworldly that they do not recognise that the bank has to adapt to technological change; but the creation of a banking desert over large parts of the country only adds to the feeling that a valuable connection with its customer base is being allowed to slip away. And this matters to the public at large as each one of us has, through the UK Government, a modest share in the company. We can only hope that the management's current press campaign is evidence that it is having second thoughts on its ruthless project of widespread branch closure.

Ian Hutcheson,

161 Beechwood Drive, Glasgow.