SNP MSP Colin Beattie has called for re-assurances that local bank branches will remain open in Midlothian and East Lothian, after concerns over the number of banks and building societies which have closed across the country were raised.
A Which? study revealed that 5 banks and building societies have shut their doors in Midlothian and 5 in East Lothian, and almost 400 banks and building societies have closed across Scotland since 2015.
Communities across Scotland are rightly concerned about the impact of the decision to close will have on local businesses, employees, the elderly and vulnerable and all those who need access to banking services.
SNP MSPs and MPs have been arguing for the reversal of hundreds of bank branch closures across Scotland, and a Holyrood committee urged that banks should be required to consult with customers, businesses and the wider community before closing local branches.
Despite repeated calls for action, and its role as majority shareholder in RBS, the Tory Westminster government has failed to lift a finger to prevent the closures.
Commenting, SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“These bank closures contribute to a lack of banking facilities, which will hit local families, small businesses, and tourism in Midlothian and East Lothian.
“More and more of us do our banking on the internet or by phone, but that simply isn’t an option for everyone. A face-to-face banking service is indispensable for many people, and banks must engage with people and businesses on their needs before deciding to close a branch.
“It would be a huge loss to Midlothian and East Lothian to see any more branches shut their doors - this could leave a significant number of elderly and vulnerable people without the preferred or necessary level of face-to-face service.
“My SNP colleagues and I will continue to fight for urgent action to ensure our communities have full access to adequate banking facilities.”