THE PROTEST OVER the closure of Speyside’s last bank is growing with around 500 people already having signed a petition calling on Clydesdale Bank to reconsider.
Branches at Aberlour and Buckie are the latest to be closed in an ongoing seismic shift in community banking throughout Scotland – however, residents and politicians are joining forces to demonstrate that there is still a social need for at least one physical branch to remain accessible to rural communities in particular.
Yesterday Moray’s MP Angus Robertson met campaigners in Aberlour to show his support for their cause – pointing out that it is not just the local community who will suffer, but the thousands of tourists who visit the world-famous ‘Whisky Trail’ each year.
The woman behind the local campaign, Louise Laing, was prompted to organise the protest by the fact that her own home town of Rothes lost its own banks several years ago – now the Aberlour closure has signalled no local facility for the entire area.
She said: “To lose the last High Street bank in the whole area would be an absolute travesty – we are an area with a large number of tourists, which makes access to cash services and over the counter banking really important.
“This is a short-sighted decision by the Clydesdale Bank but we are not prepared to take it lying down in Speyside. I set up a petition online, which has already got hundreds of signatures and the support in Aberlour was fantastic. People feel really strongly about this and we will fight it tooth and nail.”
Mr Robertson added: “I was pleased to join Louise Laing and other local campaigners in Aberlour in support of the campaign to prevent the closure of the Clydesdale Bank.
“This is the last High Street bank in Speyside, which covers an area from Tomintoul to, Aberlour, Dufftown and Rothes and many other villages in between.
“For residents who are reliant on public transport it could mean a round trip of a full day using six buses to reach Keith, where the accounts are to be transferred to. I am urging the bank to reverse this decision, which will be damaging to local businesses and cause havoc for residents and businesses alike.”
More information on the campaign can be found online.