Moray MP Douglas Ross says he has been left “deeply disappointed” by the Bank of Scotland’s response to the removal of mobile banking services across the constituency.
The MP had demanded a meeting with the bank following their announcement at the end of November last year that the mobile service would no longer visit Keith, Lossiemouth, Cullen, Fochabers, Aberlour and Burghead as of the end of May 2024.
Douglas was joined in the meeting by councillors from across Moray including Heldon and Laich Councillor James Allan and Keith and Cullen Councillor Donald Gatt. Council leader Kathleen Robertson, Fochabers Lhanbryde Councillor Marc Macrae and Keith and Cullen Councillor Tracy Colyer.
Neil Moore and Robert Cooper from the Bank’s corporate affairs represented them in the meeting.
After being pressed by Douglas several time, the bank finally conceded that they could have consulted the communities ahead of the closures, but chose not to.
Douglas also hit out at the bank representatives for trying to claim they were meeting a “moral obligation” by writing to those affected by the decision and outlining the alternatives available.
Councillor Allan also lambasted the decision to remove the service for Lossiemouth as the Post Office is open at set times and days and the owner is looking to sell, while the town used to have four banks and now it has none.
Councillor Gatt also pointed out that the alternatives of online banking are simply not viable to many people across Moray as internet connections are simply not good enough.
Douglas says he left the meeting “hugely frustrated” and said it was clear that the Bank of Scotland are “no longer interested” in providing any sort of banking service to rural and remote communities across Moray.
Moray MP Douglas Ross said: “While I was pleased the Bank of Scotland accepted my request for a meeting, I left it feeling hugely frustrated.
“Those representing the bank simply had no understanding about the importance of these mobile banking services to rural and remote communities across Moray and how damaging the removal of them will be.
“Frankly, it was clear that they are no longer interested in providing banking services to the community. That is despite being repeatedly warned that alternatives such as a full switch to online banking are simply not available to everyone.
“It is disgraceful that they didn’t even bother consulting with the communities affected over these plans which shows they are running scared from their actions.
“In light of banks shutting down, mobile banking services visiting these communities was a lifeline for many elderly and vulnerable people but our pleas to have these decisions reversed, sadly fell on deaf ears with the Bank of Scotland which is deeply disappointing.”
Heldon and Laich Councillor James Allan said: “Lossiemouth has been let down by the big banks for far too long and this meeting was another prime example.
“We used to have access to four banks in the town, now we have zero. That has now been compounded by the imminent loss of the mobile banking service, but the Bank of Scotland simply did not take that on board.
“It was like they had a pre-prepared script no matter how hard we tried to point out how this would impact communities like Lossiemouth.
“I also left the meeting with a great sense of frustration at how banks continue to be dismissive of the needs of their rural customers who continue to bear the brunt of cuts to services.”