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From Mrs Joanna Bastin.

Sir, Given the recent travails of the Royal Bank of Scotland and its large group, together with the fact that it has had to be spectacularly and publicly bailed out by the taxpayers, I have been astonished at the treatment it chooses to dish out to those who have been its most long-standing customers, and I well know that I am not alone in this.

As a customer of Coutts for 58 years, I have recently been obliged to move my account, thanks to the steps that the bank has taken to “squeeze” out its “poorer” clients.

I find it hard to believe that there are many other businesses that would so casually and callously discard their clients in this way. My family has had a long-standing relationship with the bank. My grandfather, Charles Phillimore, was a director for 30 years, and our family connection goes back to the 1740s; a fact brought to my attention by the bank itself!

I realise, naturally, that none of these affiliations is of any interest when a bank’s profit is its sole objective by any means. I should add that my husband, who has been a joint account holder with me for some years, is over 80 and joins me on the scrapheap. It is rather traumatic to be forced to change your bank at his age.

Is this the reality of the caring, customer-centric approach that we hear so much lip-service paid to these days? Jettison your long-standing customers and chase after the seductive bling of demanding oligarchs, and high-profile and difficult football stars?

I, for one, see no reason why taxpayers should have to bankroll this approach and, in our new “Big Society”, I would have thought that such banks should operate with a bit more compassion and consideration.

I must in closing add that, in all fairness, staff at Coutts have always been exceptionally courteous and helpful and I am hoping to get the same service from my new bank, a bank that was apparently delighted to have me as a customer.

Joanna Bastin,

Tournon d’Agenais, France

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