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Calls for urgent meeting with TSB

By David Porter

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North-east politicians and business owners have called for an urgent meeting with TSB after it announced widespread closures.

The banking company confirmed it would be shutting the doors of its Turriff branch citing financial pressures accelerated by the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Turriff branch of the TSB will close its doors next year.
The Turriff branch of the TSB will close its doors next year.

Now, Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin, Turriff and District Councillor Alistair Forsyth and the local Business Association have once again joined forces to call on TSB for a rethink.

It comes after RBS closed a number of its banks - including in Turriff and Ellon - despite campaigning by Ms Martin, Mr Forsyth and local businesses, while a closure of the Bank of Scotland branch in Turriff was delayed having been originally planned for June and which notices in the bank just this week say will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

In both 2017 and 2018 Ms Martin wrote to TSB on behalf of constituents in which the banking giant said it was “committed to having a strong branch network”.

Ms Martin also backed a petition by local councillors and the Turriff Business Association calling for plans to shut RBS to be revoked.

Commenting, Gillian Martin MSP said: “The decision by TSB to shut its branch in Turriff is a real blow for the many residents and businesses that benefit from having a bank in the town.

“This is yet another company to announce it will be shutting its doors and I have really concern about this decision which will leave many people with very limited access to their banking.

“This will particularly impact elderly people who may not be digitally connected in the same way as the younger generation and will now find themselves even more cut off.

“This has been a longstanding issue which I raised previously as a member of the Economy Committee and in the Parliament chamber on behalf of my constituents.

"I am also disappointed we were only informed of the decision following the announcement. I actually saw the news on social media, which I think is unacceptable”

“Alongside my colleagues and local businesses, I will be making sure we fight to retain the TSB bank for all those who need access to it.”

Commenting, councillor Alistair Forsyth said: “This is definitely not a surprise – but it is yet another big blow to the community.

“It is my view, that this is the direction of travel for many banks, as the coronavirus pandemic accelerates the use of digital connectivity even further.

“For many people however, in-person banking is essential, whether that is on a personal level or as a business owner.

“It’s going to leave many people unable to manage their finances because they are unable to access their banking.”

Commenting, Marj Chalmers, who owns Traffords Coffee House and is chair of the Turriff Business Association said: “I am devastated for the community to hear another branch will be closing.

“This will undoubtedly decrease the footfall in the town when we are already experiencing a very challenging time for local businesses.

“I support any move by local politicians to call for a rethink over this decision.”

For other local branch closures read here.

Kenneth Gibson MSP, who raised the closures at First Minister's Questions, said:

"This is deeply concerning news, which will come as a shock to many who rely on their local TSB branch.

“Closing local bank branches amidst a global pandemic, when people need financial advice and support more than ever, is not just an inconvenience. Every one of these branches is hugely important to the community it serves.

"The threat of closure to a huge number of branches across the country will come as a shock to many who depend on a face-to-face service – but we are determined to fight to keep every one of them open.

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