MacDonald welcomes new Falkirk branch of Airdrie Savings Bank

Councillor Angus MacDonald MSP has welcomed an announcement by Airdrie Savings Bank that it plans to open a new branch in Falkirk, the first time it has expanded out of its Lanarkshire homeland in its 175 year history.

The UK’s last remaining independent bank will open in Falkirk’s High Street in September, creating five new jobs for the town.

The move is the first stage of an expansion plan that will see Airdrie Savings Bank open further branches across the country.

Recently elected MSP for Falkirk East Angus MacDonald approached the Airdrie Savings Bank last August in his capacity as the SNP’s Economic Development spokesperson on Falkirk Council following an announcement by the ASB that it was considering expansion, following a £10 million cash injection from prominent Scottish businessmen including Sir Tom Farmer and Brian Souter.

Following the announcement from the bank last year Councillor MacDonald immediately arranged a meeting with senior bank officials including General Manager Jim Lindsay, Falkirk Council’s Economic Development officials and Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson to encourage Airdrie Savings Bank to consider opening a branch in Falkirk District as part of their expansion plans.

Speaking to the press at the time, Councillor MacDonald said:

“Given Falkirk district’s close proximity to the bank’s current area of operation, a move to a neighbouring area such as Falkirk will hopefully be uppermost in the bank’s expansion plans.

“In addition, given the dismal performance of our national banks, and their continued refusal to fully engage with local businesses, I am sure businesses and individuals the length and breadth of Falkirk District would welcome a branch of the Airdrie Savings Bank, which represents what Scottish banks once stood for – security of funds, a focus on savings and outstanding personal service.”

Welcoming the news today that a branch will open in Falkrik, newly elected MSP for Falkirk East Angus MacDonald said:

“I am absolutely delighted that Airdrie Savings Bank have decided to open their first ever branch outside Lanarkshire here in Falkirk District

“It is refreshing to see a bank, particularly a local bank, engage positively with the business community. It is even more refreshing to see a bank which still holds on to its traditional values, which are testament to the Bank’s survival during these turbulent economic times.

“I hope the residents of Falkirk district will make the most of having such a principled, customer focused bank on their doorstep, and I look forward to the official opening of the bank in September.

Airdrie Savings Bank was established in 1835 as a mutual as part of the “thrift” movement and even today allows accounts to be opened with a deposit of only 5p.

The expansion is being supported by a group of high profile Scottish business figures including Brian Souter, Ann Gloag, Ewan Brown, Alastair Salvesen and Sir Tom Farmer.

Their disillusionment with the UK banking sector led the group to come together to deposit large sums to support the growth of Airdrie Savings Bank, encouraged by its commitment to traditional banking values.

Bob Boyle, President of Airdrie Savings Bank said: “Falkirk will be our first new branch for 14 years and marks the first time we have operated outside of Lanarkshire.

“It is a very important step forward for the Bank and the beginning of what we believe will be an exciting period of expansion for Airdrie Savings Bank.

“We have chosen Falkirk because the town offers similar demographics to our existing business, has a robust business sector and draws from a different catchment area.  It is also close enough to our current operations without conflicting in any way to make the launch and day to day running very manageable. We look forward to attracting considerable interest from personal and business customers seeking a traditional approach to banking.”

Congratulating Airdrie Savings Bank, Brian Souter said: “This is an historic moment for the bank and I am delighted to see they are taking their traditional banking approach to another part of Scotland.”

Airdrie Savings Bank currently has seven branches across Lanarkshire and employs almost 100 people.

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Copyright © Angus MacDonald MSP 2017

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