Protecting Local Banking Services

Reduced bank services are a huge concern across Angus. I’m calling for the banks to work together to create rural banking hubs so that residents across Angus can continue to have a local bank branch in their town.

What do you think of local bank services?

Let me know in the QUICK SURVEY AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE.

 

24th May 2019 - Ensuring individuals and businesses have access to cash is vitally important for our local economy. That is why I gave a speech in today's financial inclusion and access to cash debate to highlight action that needs to be taken to protect individuals and rural economies such as Angus. You can read my full speech here.

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12th May 2019 - I’ve requested an urgent meeting with Clydesdale Bank to discuss their incredibly disappointing decision to close their Arbroath branch. A decision made worse by the bank not engaging with local residents first. We can’t keep losing branches in Angus, so I am pushing the banks to seriously look at setting up banking hubs as an alternative.

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29th April 2019 - I appreciate TSB assuring me their Brechin and Montrose branches will remain open and that there will be no job losses. However, I’m concerned that reduced opening hours might be the thin end of the wedge - we can’t afford to lose more bank services in Angus.

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28th March 2019 - Since 2010, Angus has lost 15 bank branches – making us one of the worst affected areas in Scotland.

Loyal customers have the right to expect a basic level of service from their bank, and alternatives such as digital and telephone banking are not suitable for everybody. To understand how the recent closures have affected our communities, I am conducting a short survey on how people manage their bank accounts – please take a moment to complete it and then share it with your family and friends. You can take the survey at the bottom of this page.

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20th February 2019 - I have real concerns about whether local post offices have enough capacity to fill in for the bank branches Angus is set to lose, and of course poor broadband provision makes digital banking difficult for many.

Last week, I spoke in Parliament to call on the banks to explore how to keep these branches open – such as sharing premises in banking hubs. Today, I met with Adam Bishop, Head of Branch Interactions at Santander UK to discuss both the closures in Brechin and Forfar, and to urge him to consider every available option to retain local branch services.

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14th February 2019 - I was pleased to speak in today's back bench debate on the recent Santander bank branch closures. It presented an opportunity to highlight the difficulties faced by constituents as well as to propose solutions. Read my full speech here.

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23rd January 2019 - Incredibly disappointing news today that Santander UK are to close their Brechin and Forfar branches – once again, our towns are let down by the big banks with little regard for how people will access basic services.The decision was apparently made after ‘internal’ consultation, but there has been no accountability to the people of Angus who rely on these branches nor engagement with local elected representatives.

I have now written to Santander seeking answers on what alternative services there will be for customers who can’t access digital banking, what support will be given to local staff who face losing their jobs and why Santander have not done more to engage with the community on these closures.

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13th December 2018 - I was disappointed to learn recently that Kirriemuir is set to lose its local Bank of Scotland branch next year. The community is understandably worried about what effect this might have on both vulnerable residents and local businesses as it is the last bank in the town.

Today, I met with a senior executive from the Bank of Scotland to directly raise those concerns with him, to urge the bank to review the decision and also to fully consult with residents over any alternative services to make sure they will fully meet local needs.

I know this is a serious issue for those living in Kirriemuir, and I welcome your views on the matter so please feel free to get in touch on 01307 494 010 or kirstene.hair.mp@parliament.uk.

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5th December 2018 - I raised the loss of local banking services in Parliament this week – something communities across Angus have, unfortunately, experienced first-hand. A local branch or ATM can be a vital service in rural communities, and digital banking or card payments are not acceptable alternatives for everyone. Without having free cash provision, quite simply, local businesses lose out.

Our most vulnerable residents and small businesses need more support from their banks and that is why I will continue to take every opportunity to make that case, especially as we are losing the Bank of Scotland in Kirrie as well as the ATM in the coming months.

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14th November 2018 - I am disappointed to learn that the Bank of Scotland plan to close their Kirriemuir branch from 30th May next year. I have requested an urgent meeting with the chief executive of Bank of Scotland to discuss the matter. Over 300 people regularly use the branch every month, and it is a vital service for local businesses and traders. If you will be affected by the closure, I would be happy to take your views to the bank when I meet with them.

As ever, please feel free to phone my office on 01307 495 010 or email me at kirstene.hair.mp@parliament.uk.

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16th May 2018 - I was delighted to support my Scottish Labour colleague, Ged Killen MP’s, bill to stop people being charged ATM fees. There is cross-party agreement that, as banks close, it is simply wrong for people to be forced to pay to access their own hard earned money.

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26th January 2018 - The prospect of some communities losing their access to free cash machines is unpalatable, especially in the climate of banks closing local branches. My constituents in Montrose have expressed profound disappointment at the upcoming loss of their High Street branch, which I have made clear to the bank's executives.

Fee-paying ATMs have a function in some environments but should never become a community's only option. There is a real risk of this happening when a branch closes and no banks maintain cash machines nearby.

As illustrated by the problem of RBS closing branches across the country, rural areas where digital banking is not always an option have been hit disproportionately by bank closures. I support my colleague’s call for the PSR to pause proposals until there is a comprehensive and independent review of their impact.

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23rd January 2018 - The disappointing decision by RBS to close its Montrose premises is yet another blow to the high street and to customers who rely on personal banking. These are unacceptable closures as they signify a withdrawal from Angus and to many communities across Scotland.

RBS has refused to rule out more closures as they develop online services and have suggested customer to travel to Arbroath. For those who are unable to use these online services or access the broadband speeds required, this announcement will be little consolation. What RBS fail to appreciate is that, with declining local bus routes, it is not as simple as just nipping through to Arbroath and there is no firm commitment, from RBS, that Arbroath would not be up for closure further down the line.

My constituents, who are not all RBS customers, have told me they are unhappy that bank branches are continually vanishing from their towns.

Bank Services

Which do you prefer to manage your bank account?
Does your bank have a branch in your town/village?
How often do you visit your local branch?
Have you changed bank because your local branch closed?
Can you easily get cash in your local area?
Are you concerned about access to cash in the future?
Have you had difficulty using digital banking? (Tick all that apply)
Have you had difficulty using telephone banking? (Tick all that apply)
Does your local Post Office offer all the bank services you need?