Branch Losses Will Hit Elderly Hardest
SNP MSP Joan McAlpine has launched a broadside at the Royal Bank of Scotland for the loss of banking services across Dumfries and Galloway.
Giving a speech to Parliament, during a debate highlighting the negative impact of branch losses, Ms. McAlpine warned that planned closures would have a devastating impact on the largely rural communities throughout the region.
Earlier this year, RBS – a bank 62% owned by the UK government – announced that it planned to close 16 branches across South Scotland. This came on top of extensive closures previously announced by RBS and Bank of Scotland.
Commenting, Ms. McAlpine said:
“I have been struck by the contempt that the bank has shown to customers in my constituency.
“Customers such as those in Langholm, Lockerbie and Annan all lost their branches earlier this year.
“In Langholm, the nearest branch is an unbelievable 30 miles away.”
67% of people over the age of 75 in Scotland do not use the internet. It follows that the elderly and the vulnerable are likely to be hit the hardest by the closures.
Older people express a preference for face-to-face engagement in branch banking – a lack of faith in digital banking and the cost of accessing technology serves as a deterrent.
Ms. McAlpine continued:
“Access to broadband is improving – thanks to the Scottish Government – but that does not mean that all of our older citizens will choose to become silver surfers. And why should they?”