High Street banks have copped a good deal of flak over recent years for their branch closure programmes. And rightly so.
The contempt shown for customers has been appalling. And Angus has suffered particularly badly with Carnoustie losing branches of the Bank of Scotland, RBS and TSB, Kirrie being similarly subjected to closures and of course Monifieth didn’t have a banking presence to lose in the first place!
Not everyone is able to utilise online banking alternatives, mobile banking is a poor substitute, ATMs offer only marginal levels of service and Post Offices are already beyond busy without having to cater for disenfranchised bank customers.
But having slagged off the banks, let’s give them a bit of credit for setting out to repair their tarnished reputations and try to offer at least some level of service within our communities.
A few weeks ago I had the great pleasure of opening a banking hub in Carnoustie.
As well as offering a physical degree of personal and business banking, it is home to a once a week face to face opportunity for customers with representatives of Bank of Scotland, RBS, TSB, Santander and Virgin Money.
It’s an offering which has been well received there and I’ve opened discussions with those charged with pulling together the services over a similar offering for Kirriemuir and Monifieth. Along with local SNP councillors Lloyd Melville and Julie Bell I’ll be looking to try and progress matters over the coming months.
There’s a process to be embarked upon which involves gauging community interest and assessment of ATM usage in these localities.
We’d also need to find an available business premises of more than 900sqft in each locality to host a Hub.
But at least the option is going to be looked at which is good news for both towns.