MATHESON HITS OUT AT DECISION TO CLOSE LAST BANK IN DENNY

Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson has slammed the announcement that Bank of Scotland will close its branch in Denny on February 28 next year.

Mr Matheson said: “It’s devastating news for residents and local businesses that the last remaining bank in the town is shutting down and it shows a complete disregard for hundreds of loyal customers in Denny.

“Bank of Scotland says the growing number of people who use online or mobile banking is the reason for this closure – but its own review shows that 781 of its customers only use this branch, and no other way, to bank and that counters at the Denny branch are busier now than they were a year ago.

“Those most affected by this closure are likely to be elderly and disabled customers, as well as business clients. They will now be expected to make a round-trip to the Falkirk High Street branch, which takes at least an hour by public transport, if they wish to retain a personal, face-to-face service.

“To add insult to injury, anyone who has visited the branch in Falkirk lately will know that it is already struggling to cope with the sheer number of customers following the many other branch closures by various banks across Falkirk district in recent times – to such an extent that they have had to put a limit on the number of coin bags that can be handed in during any one visit.

“This news will also come as a shock to the staff in Denny, not least since Bank of Scotland’s parent firm, Lloyds Banking Group, announced pre-tax profits of £1.95billion for the third quarter just last month.

“It’s a bitter irony that a bank bailed out by taxpayers during the financial crisis is abandoning local communities now that it has returned to making bumper profits.

“I’ve got many questions about the level of consultation that preceded the announcement of this closure, and whether its impact on customers was properly considered, and I will raise these with Lloyds Banking Group.”