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Local politicians are united in condemning the announcement that Bank of Scotland will close its branches in Keith and Lossiemouth.
These closures will leave Bank of Scotland customers in Keith with a 20 mile round trip to Huntly to visit their nearest branch. It will also see the closure of Lossiemouth’s only bank located in the town and leave people with no branch from any bank.
A report by ‘Which?’ magazine, published last year, indicated that Moray is amongst one of areas worst hit by bank closures in Scotland.
Moray MSP Richard Lochhead said: “The closure of the Bank of Scotland branches in Keith and Lossiemouth are a bitter blow to customers and small businesses. It also means that Lossiemouth will have no physical bank branch located in the town at all.
“I have written to the Bank’s Managing Director expressing my dismay and anger at this decision and seeking an immediate meeting over the future of services in the area.
“Banks are deserting Moray’s communities and this is having a real negative impact on the people who rely on them including businesses and vulnerable people. Personal banking customers are also affected and now face an expensive round trip to their nearest branch.
“Moray has already taken a disproportionate share of rural bank closures. It’s incumbent on banks to think about their customers who depend on having a branch to visit and not to turn Moray in to a branch free region.”
Moray MP Douglas Ross has described Lloyds Banking Group’s decision to close its Bank of Scotland branches in Keith and Lossiemouth as unforgivable: “I’ve been told that there will be eight branch closures in Scotland, with two of these in Moray, which is totally unacceptable. Although Keith will still have two banks left after the closure in May next year, the decision to close the Lossiemouth branch in June 2019 will leave the town with no banks at all. This is a blow to both these communities which is why I am urging Lloyds to reconsider this decision.
“Moray has been hit hard by bank closures in the past two years which has had a serious impact on residents and businesses. This latest announcement will have a huge impact on Keith and Lossiemouth and is unforgivable.
“I have already written to the Chief Executive urging them to reconsider this decision. If the bank is not prepared to do this, then at the very least our communities need assurances that there will be a meaningful mobile service in both towns.
“I am arranging a meeting involving community councils, local residents and business owners so that everyone has the chance to raise their concerns about these closures.
“I am also adamant that if the company refuses to reverse its decision to close the branches in Keith and Lossiemouth there must be full consultation with local people about the provision of a mobile banking service.
“I’m deeply disappointed that yet another bank is turning its back on local communities in Moray. Local people deserve far better than this.”