RBS ad banned over misleading claims
Two TV ads for Natwest and the Royal Bank of Scotland have been banned by the ASA for claims that the bank "continue to provide banking services wherever we're the last bank in town."
A local councillor and the Campaign for Community Banking Services (CCBS) challenged the claim because it understood there was at least one place, Farsley in Yorkshire, where Natwest had closed a branch despite being the last bank.
CCBS also challenged whether ad misleadingly implied that RBS would retain branches and their opening hours, because it understood that in some locations RBS had substantially reduced opening hours, or replaced branches with a visit from a mobile bank.
RBS pointed out the ad stated that its commitment was to continue providing "banking services" wherever they were the last bank in town and argued that it therefore did not go as far as to say that they would commit to keeping all branches open, saying customers in the Farsley area could still receive a full banking service from their Pudsey branch which was just over a mile and a half away.
The bank also said it did not believe that the ad implied maintenance of opening hours, with the statement "we will open our busiest branches for longer" relating to the fact that it opened 160 of its busiest branches earlier in the morning and/or later in the evening.
Clearcast said that RBS had confirmed at script stage that the claim ''... continue to provide banking services wherever we're the last bank in town" was correct.
The ASA said that since Natsaid said it “would continue to provide banking services if it was the last in town and because we understood that there was a town in which they had not done so, we concluded that the claim was misleading.”
The ad was declared in breach of the CAP code in terms of misleading advertising and substantiation.