McArthur and Carmichael meet Bank of Scotland over Stromness branch closure

Orkney's parliamentarians, Liam McArthur MSP and Alistair Carmichael MP, today met senior Bank of Scotland representatives following news of the proposed closure of the bank’s branch in Stromness.

The Bank of Scotland announced last week it intends to close their Stromness branch which will leave the community with no bank following the closure by RBS of its branch in the town back in 2015.

The closure, scheduled for August, comes after what Bank of Scotland describe as an "in-depth review", which was published to coincide with the announcement.

Commenting after the meeting, Mr McArthur said:

"The planned closure of the last bank in Stromness is undoubtedly a blow to the local community.

"Since news broke last week, I have been contacted by a number of constituents and local businesses expressing disappointment and concern about the implications of this move.

"Today’s meeting provided an opportunity to raise these concerns directly with Bank of Scotland’s management.  While it seems clear that the decision to close the branch will not be overturned, there are issues regarding ongoing access to services for businesses and personal customers that still need to be addressed.

"I will continue to press Bank of Scotland on these issues, including the case for retaining a cashpoint facility in the centre of town.  Meantime, I would encourage anyone directly affected by this closure to get in touch with me."

Mr Carmichael added:

"Whatever the business justifications, news of the coming closure in Stromness has been troubling for many local people who have relied on this last bank in town.  Since the announcement many people have contacted my office with renewed concern about access to cash and to services, particularly for disabled and elderly residents.  We need to ensure that they do not see a loss in their ability to access those key banking services.

"Viewed in the round this represents another step backwards for access to services in rural communities.  Even if we cannot reverse the decision today we need to be vigilant about the wider need to justify and protect dedicated services in the isles."

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