Joan McAlpine MSP has urged the Managing Director of Santander’s North division to keep open its branch in Lockerbie. In a frank exchange with Richard Owen Ms McAlpine questioned the figures being used to justify closure.
She also challenged Santander to be more transparent in sharing information about the number of people using the branch.
She pointed out that she had already been fighting RBS branch closures, and the loss of two branches.
Ms McAlpine urged customers to complain officially in order to let bank bosses know the strength of feeling in Annandale.
“I told Mr Owen that the closure would disproportionately affect elderly people and those who do not have good internet access. He refused to share details of the footfall at the bank, which I find astonishing because that is the justification for closure. He then refused to tell me the number of customers who hold accounts at the branch claiming this would be inaccurate because it would include customers who had moved elsewhere but retained their account. But it is this group of customers who Santander surveyed in order to justify the closure. So for example, they claim 51 per cent of customers use online banking, but that is meaningless if the groups surveyed include account holders who have, for example, moved to the city. I imagine the number of people using mobile or online banking who live in the surrounding area is likely to be much lower.”
Ms McAlpine urged local people affected by the closure decision to complain to Mr Owen by writing to Richard.firstname.lastname@example.org or to ask for an official complaint to be lodged by the branch.
The SNP MSP added:
“Bosses need to know exactly how people feel and claim they have received a low number of complaints about the planned closure.”