MACDONALD AND DAY CALL ON BANK OF SCOTLAND TO RECONSIDER BO’NESS CLOSURE
Monday, 08 February 2016 12:38
Senior politicians representing Bo’ness have stepped up their calls for the Bank of Scotland to reconsider its decision to close the branch in the town.
Angus MacDonald MSP and Martyn Day MP met with disgruntled Bank of Scotland customers in Bo’ness on Saturday. The two politicians promised to do what they could, but stressed that ultimately it is a commercial decision for the bank.
The town’s senior representatives also called for the following proposals to be seriously considered should the bank continue with the closure plan:
· Consideration of reduced operating hours
· A regular mobile banking service should be provided
· Retention of the ATM at the existing site or other prominent town centre site
· Consider permitting community use of the branch building
The decision by the Lloyds Banking Group and Bank of Scotland is part of a company review announced last Wednesday. The Bank said all existing customer accounts will be relocated to the Linlithgow branch and the Bo’ness site will officially close on Monday 6th June this year.
Since the news was announced on Wednesday (3rd February), both MSP Angus MacDonald and MP Martyn Day have been in contact with Lloyds Banking Group representatives.
Commenting, Angus MacDonald said:
“I have been inundated with messages and comments from concerned Bo’ness residents and disgruntled Bank customers – particularly business owners and the elderly. This announcement will obviously be a difficult one for those who are immediately affected. There is no doubt the way people bank is changing, however a large number of bank customers still prefer to have face to face contact with their bank, particularly elderly residents who have little or no Internet skills, or do not fully trust telephone banking.
“Over the next few weeks, people working at the Bo’ness branch will find out what is next for them and I am keen to gather more information on what support the bank is giving their employees during this transition period.
“Bank of Scotland has stated that they anticipate a small number of redundancies to be made; which they hope to be carried out on a voluntary basis. I am hoping to gain assurances from the company that those who are being offered redundancy or relocation will be supported in every way feasible.
“I fully understand that these decisions are not taken lightly and are a sign of an evolving economy. However, it is important to recognise how these changes can have a significant impact on local communities.”
“That’s why we are calling for the bank to consider operating on reduced days and hours or providing a regular mobile banking service to the town; retaining the ATM at the existing site or at another prominent site in the town centre; and to consider permitting community use of the branch building.
Martyn Day MP, a former banker, added:
“Banking is a modernising industry like any other but it can’t be ignored that still a large number of people rely on traditional banking methods. The closure of a local bank branch can have a serious impact on how some people access banking services.
“Customers will be able to access their bank accounts online, by telephone, or via the local branch in Linlithgow. However, not all customers will find access so easy and I hope to find out more about how Bank of Scotland plan to support less abled customers who will still require access to banking services after the closure.