South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has slammed Barclays Bank after they announced the closure of their Dumfries town centre branch- which will mean customers have to travel to England for their nearest branch.
In April the bank announced profits for the first quarter of the year of £2.6bn- higher than the £2.2bn it reported at the same time last year.
Despite this, the bank has just announced a further 14 branch closures including Dumfries by the end of the year- over and above the 142 planned closures during 2023 and 2024 they announced earlier this year.
The Castle Street branch in Dumfries will close its doors for the last time on 14 October, meaning customers will have to travel to Carlisle for their nearest Barclays Bank.
In their “reasons for closure” document the bank say customers can use the Post Office for some services- despite the fact Dumfries Town centre no longer has a main Post Office.
South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said, “This is devastating news for Barclays Bank’s loyal customers but especially for staff who face losing their jobs, and my thoughts are very much with them.
“We now face the ridiculous situation that local customers will have to travel to England for their nearest Barclays bank.
“We have become used to banks axing branches on a regular basis, but the fact this is a branch in the region’s largest town shows that no bank branch is safe.
“The closure is the last thing Dumfries town centre need, given the fact the High Street is already on its knees and can’t even boast having a main Post Office in the town centre.
“Given Barclay’s growing profits, this decision shows that banks have no social conscious whatsoever and care little about the impact their decisions have on communities or their staff.
“For bank bosses, it’s about how much money they can make for themselves and how many billions they can rake up in profits and they couldn’t care less about customers in smaller communities such as Dumfries.
“We need to see more regulations of banks. Local branches should not be allowed to close without a proper consultation process and the final approval of the Financial Conduct Authority.
“There should be a presumption against closure when a branch is the last in a town or customers will have to travel an excessive distance to use the nearest branch”
“If we don’t start to take action to save bank branches, they will soon become a thing of the past in many communities and that won’t just small rural villages and towns.”