Town fury over bank closures

Picture Michael Gillen.
Picture Michael Gillen.

Linlithgow residents are facing a double blow, with the Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander are under threat of closure.

RBS’s Linlithgow branch will close on June 27 while Santander has announced that it will close just a few weeks before in May.

This would leave just the Bank of Scotland in the town.

Local MSP Fiona Hyslop has expressed her anger at the second announcement of the bank closures.

She said: “It is extremely disappointing that news of the closure of Santander’s Linlithgow branch in May next year has come hard on the heels of the announcement that RBS will close its Linlithgow branch in June.

“I have already been contacted by constituents who feel let down by banks whose digital focus is at the expense of the face to face contact that they supposedly value and I have written to the chief executive of Santander Bank to express my concerns.

“Elderly people and those with disabilities are always among those hit hardest by bank closures with those who have no choice but to visit a bank in person, often facing real access issues when they are forced to bank at post offices or with credit unions.

“It is high time these banks faced the customers they are neglecting and explain to their staff why their bosses feel their work in the community is redundant.”

An RBS spokesman said: “More and more of our customers are choosing to do their everyday banking online or on mobile. Since 2012 the number of customers using our branches in Scotland has fallen by 44 per cent.

“We expect these closures to result in around 158 redundancies. We realise this is difficult news for our colleagues and we are doing everything we can to support those affected. We will ensure compulsory redundancies are kept to a minimum.”

Santander said: “As a result of our recent review, Santander has announced it will be closing its Linlithgow branch in May 2018.

“This decision has not been taken lightly and follows a review across our UK branch network, changing customer behaviour, branch and digital channel usage, alternative ways for customers to bank with us, whilst supporting communities.”