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Dr Whitford campaigning to save her local Santander back branch in Troon

Santander Bank Closures

I met with the Head of Branches at Santander to discuss my concerns at the proposed closure of a number of branches across Scotland, including Troon in my Central Ayrshire constituency. The colossal number of bank closures across the country is having a big impact on the functioning of the remaining branches, with business customers in particular having to travel to their next nearest branch for the services they need. It also has major implications for our Post Offices which are left picking up the slack. In Troon and Prestwick, both of which have seen three banks close their doors, the town post offices have had a significant increase in their footfall; however, the transaction fee they receive for carrying out banking services has been reduced to a pittance. This makes the businesses less viable, threatening their very existence.

I highlighted these issues when I spoke in a Parliamentary debate on the closures where I also raised the problems the closures cause for older customers who don’t have access to or who are not comfortable using online services. However, it’s not just access to branch services which is being lost but access to cash machines, which are also disappearing from our high street at an alarming rate. The cumulative impact of all this on our high streets is enormous as when people need to go to a larger town to access their cash they tend to shop there too – this is killing many of our smaller towns. Going forward, if banks won’t maintain branches in our towns, we need to look at protecting our Crown Post Offices and develop them as banking hubs in towns where customers can access the full range of banking services as well as postal and, indeed, government services. For this to be viable, the current transaction fee negotiation needs to provide fair remuneration to Postmasters for the extra work involved.

To see my speech click here

About the author 

Heather Knox

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