Touching bank adverts which claimed the banks would “continue to provide banking services wherever we’re the last bank in town” have been banned after it turned it the claims were untrue.
The Advertising Standards Authority rapped Nat West and RBS for misleading customers after evidence emerged that both banks have closed branches despite being the last bank in town.
In the banned NatWest television commercial, two bank workers were shown outside a branch on a deserted coastal road claiming that they wouldn’t leave town.
But a local councillor from the town of Farseley in Yorkshire – which is six miles from Leeds - pointed out that NatWest had closed its branch there, leaving the town with no bank at all.
Meanwhile the banned RBS ad showed a bank employee making the same misleading claim while walking up a grass verge with a castle in the background.
In fact RBS has closed its branch in Bettyhill, Thurso on the northern coast of Scotland, leaving the area with no bank.
A spokesman for RBS-NatWest said: "While we disagree with the ASA's decision, we welcome their offer to work more closely with them in future.
We are proud of our commitment to offer services in towns where other banks have closed, and we currently do this in 168 locations.”
The ban comes as research published today by the Campaign for Community Banking Services reveals that 1,200 communities have now lost their bank branches.
Some 414 rural and 466 urban communities now rely on just one bank and a further 446 have only two, said CCBS Director Derek French.
He called on the government to act now to impose community service obligations on the big banks which dominate the sector.