Richard Lochhead MSP has met with representatives of the Bank of Scotland to urge them to reconsider the decision to close the bank’s Forres Branch in July.
Speaking after the meeting Mr Lochhead said:
“I met with senior representatives from the Bank of Scotland to raise my serious concerns over plans to close the Forres branch later this year, leaving the town without a single bank branch.
“The bank seems firmly of the view that low footfall and the availability of banking services at the Post Office make their decision a reasonable one.
“However, I conveyed to them my own strong view that as the last bank in town they have a responsibility to exhaust all options to remain open to provide banking services to the local community.
“I was somewhat surprised when their representatives told me that feedback from customers about their decision has been largely positive.
“This certainly isn’t the response I’m hearing as local MSP and I know many residents and businesses feel angry that Bank of Scotland and the other big banks have all now abandoned their community.
“I made a strong plea to the bank to review and reconsider their decision and to allow the community the opportunity to at least retain the service on a use it or lose it basis.
“The bank tells me they’re listening to the local community but that they are unlikely to be persuaded to keep the branch open.
“As I’ve said before we really do need the UK Government to step in to prevent the closure of the last branch in town.”