Moray MP Douglas Ross has slammed the “cowardly attitude” of “tone deaf” approach of Bank of Scotland bosses after meeting with them in Westminster to air his grave concerns over plans to shut their branch in Forres.
Douglas met with senior bosses Samantha McGrath and Neil Moore after the bank announced they plan to close the branch in July, which would leave Forres without any bank in the town.
He has been left dismayed at the meeting in which he says bosses couldn’t answer any of his questions or the concerns raised by his constituents, who have shown their overwhelming support for the bank to remain open via a local petition.
Douglas added that he was appalled to find out that staff at the Forres branch were only given one hours’ notice ahead of an announcement being made to the press. He has also hit out at their refusal to send a senior management member to Forres to meet with concerned local customers.
Furthermore, as a customer of the branch himself, Douglas has been informed he will be transferred to the branch in Nairn, if the closure goes ahead. He says that will set alarm bells ringing about the future of the branch in Elgin, if the bank plan to shut more branches.
Following the meeting Douglas has written again to the bank urging them to reverse their decision and demand that they come and hear from people in Forres.
Moray MP Douglas Ross said: “The performance of the Bank of Scotland bosses in this meeting was frankly disgraceful. They failed to answer any of the questions I posed to them on behalf of constituents who are clear that this branch must remain open.
“It was absolutely appalling to discover that loyal staff were only informed an hour before Bank of Scotland announced their plans to close the branch in July. Bosses were clearly not prepared for this meeting and their cowardly attitude was obvious when they told me they wanted to listen to customers, then point blank refused my request for a senior representative to come to Forres and hear the opposition to their plans.
“That is a total insult to local businesses and residents. It is clear they are running scared and are all too happy to ignore the voices of the people who will be affected by this decision. It’s completely tone deaf to say you want to listen, then refuse to engage with the community who will suffer as a result of this closure.
“It is also concerning that customers like myself are getting told we will be transferred to the branch in Nairn. What does that say about the future prospects of the branch in Elgin, which is only a few miles from me compared to Nairn that is over 20 miles away? These are extremely worrying times for banking in Moray, yet bosses can’t even answer basic questions.
“I have written again in the strongest possible terms to the bank, urging them to rethink this closure, which would be a complete dereliction of duty to the people of Forres and to insist that a senior executive comes to the town as a matter of urgency.”