Send them homewards to think again, says MSP to bank bosses

Arrochar bank

          Jackie Baillie stresses the importance of village banks to staff at Arrochar.

By Lizzie Healey

Dumbarton and Lomond constituency MSP, Jackie Baillie, has raised concerns that people will struggle to access cash as a new report from Which? reveals that Scotland has lost one third of its bank branches in just eight years.

Which? looked at data from the Office for National Statistics and found that there were 610 fewer banks and building societies across the country in 2018 compared with 2010. RBS tops the list of banks that has closed the most branches with 158 closures in that period, they are followed by the Bank of Scotland (86), Clydesdale (59), Santander (38) and TSB (35).

The branch closures have been coupled with the closure of hundreds of ATM machines, the majority of which were free-to-use.

The news comes just weeks after Santander announced that they would be closing their Helensburgh branch meaning customers will have to travel to Byres Road in Glasgow to access their closest branch.

Jackie Baillie  said: “These bank closures are having a major impact on communities in my constituency. People are being forced to use internet and telephone banking, which for some older or more vulnerable people, can be difficult. I would urge Santander to think again and reverse their decision to close their well-used branch in Helensburgh.

“Cash is vital for many people in more rural areas, including some small villages in parts of my own constituency. It is just not viable for small businesses to accept cards when charges can be high.

“I hope that the UK government will hear the calls from consumer champion, Which?, and appoint a regulator to ensure that nobody is shut out from paying for goods and services.”

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