Arkless Meets With Clydesdale Bank To Discuss Branch Closures

Dumfries and Galloway MP Richard Arkless has met with representatives from Clydesdale Bank in Westminster to discuss the proposed closure of branches in Castle Douglas and Stranraer.


The closures were announced last month and will leave the entire Stewartry area without a Clydesdale Bank branch with constituents having to travel 25 miles or more to access face to face banking services.


Following the meeting Richard said ‘unfortunately the Clydesdale Bank team did seem to committed to the closures and blamed a general drop in footfall as customers move towards electronic banking’.


Richard continued:


“My first concern was for the staff who would be affected by the branch closures and I asked that the bank ensure that if they wished, staff would be given full support to be relocated to work in another branch.”


“The rural nature of Dumfries and Galloway can make accessing banking difficult for local businesses, the elderly and disabled people however I can reassure those people that Clydesdale Bank customers will still be able to perform their basic banking transactions in Stranraer and Castle Douglas via the Post Office in each of the towns.”


“I insisted the Clydesdale Bank should consider developing a legacy project and look into the idea of establishing a capital budget for leaving a positive mark behind in each of the communities – other banks do this kind of planning.”


Richard went on:


The bank seems to think that it is very easy for people to make the transition to digital banking but the reality is that for many people in Dumfries and Galloway, they simply can’t get online to access this service.  


“Banks are very good at investing in digital awareness classes and mobile banks to mitigate the impact of the closures but there is no point in training people in digital skills if they can’t get online, and there is no point putting a mobile bank in an area if it can’t get a signal.” 


“I put it to the Clydesdale Bank that they should work with mobile providers to fill in some ‘not spots’.  EE plan to cover 92% of Dumfries and Galloway with 4G by 2018 – the banks should work with them and help finance some of the 8% to make sure their customers can get a connection.  They really seemed to like the idea and assured me their would be high level conversations about it tomorrow.”


Richard added:


“I would still prefer the branches for many many reasons.  I told the banks representative that I have concerns about the iconic Castle Douglas Clydesdale Bank building  – it would be a terrible waste to see this significant building remain empty and they have assured me that they will write to me in the coming days with clarification of what will happen to this important building after the bank closes.” 


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