More Bank Woes As Santander Abandons Lockerbie

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has criticised Santander after it has announced it is closing its branch in Lockerbie.  

The branch, which sits a mere two shops down from the closing Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) branch, announced today (23 April) that it intends to close the branch in November following ‘extensive consideration, and an internal review.’

The announcement comes just months after RBS selected Lockerbie as one of the branches it will close this year.

The move means that only the Bank of Scotland is left to serve the entire town of Lockerbie.

Colin Smyth MSP said, “This is another betrayal of customers by a large bank and will be another hammer blow for Lockerbie High Street. The people of Lockerbie would have been looking to Santander following the closure of RBS as its possible new banking branch. Instead of helping local people and possibly picking up extra customers from the closure of RBS, Santander has chosen to also turn its back on the town and close its branch, leaving loyal customers and staff out in the cold. It really is time for the UK Government to step in before Lockerbie becomes the latest town not to have any banks. Banks should have to deliver a minimum level of customer service and we should be exploring options such as multi-bank and service hubs in our small towns and villages that share services and make them more viable. Unfortunately the UK Government is happy to simply ignore the plight of too many communities like Lockerbie. Having access to local banking is not just vital for the people living in the area, but for businesses across Dumfries and Galloway. Santander have failed to come forward with alternative for those who don’t have easy access to online banking such as a mobile bank. I will be writing to the chief executive of Santander urging him to reconsider this decision and keep the bank branch open in the area and urging the UK Government to wake up to the banking crisis we face before it is too late and there are no High Street banks left outside our big towns and cities. “

The letter stated –

Dear Mr Smyth,

I’m writing to let you know about Santander’s decision to close our branch at 55 High Street, Lockerbie DG11 2JH on 29 November 2018. This decision follows extensive consideration, and an internal review.

I realise this will be disappointing to some of your constituents, which is why I wanted to explain our decision. We constantly review our branch network to take into account changing customer behaviours and the need to operate an efficient and cost effective branch network. This has shown that 90% of our customers who use this branch, either at the counter or the cash machines, are also using additional ways to complete their banking – 43% at another Santander branch and 51% of customers also manage their money through Online, Mobile or Telephone Banking.

As well as using any of our branches, customers can bank with us through Online, Mobile or Telephone Banking. For those customers not currently using these services, we can help set this up for them, giving them flexibility in how and when they manage their money. Customers using Online Banking can also set up free alerts about their account balances, deposits and payments. In addition, all Santander current account holders can use the Post Office for cash and cheque deposits, withdrawals and to check their account balance.

We are writing to all branch customers today to let them know of the closure. This includes customers who have transacted at the branch in the last 12 months and any other customers who live in the local area. The branch team will be talking to all customers visiting the branch to explain the alternative options, providing help and guidance where needed for example, setting up and using our online or mobile banking services. An impact assessment explaining our decision, alternative ways to bank with us and details of the local branch manager is attached, and can be found on our website (www.santander.co.uk/uk/our-branches) and in branch for customers.

If you have any questions relating to this closure, I would be happy to facilitate a discussion with our Regional Manager. To arrange this or for any further information, please get in touch with our Community Engagement team at: [email protected].

Yours sincerely,

Richard Owen Divisional Managing Director, North Division Santander UK plc

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