Bank Branch Closures

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 7th February 2019.

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Photo of Kate Forbes Kate Forbes Scottish National Party

Although we bear it in mind that banking is a reserved area, we appreciate that the impact on communities is not reserved. Just yesterday, I had a meeting with Which?—it has done a lot of research on the matter—and with Unite the union, to look at the impact that branch closures are having on communities and on the employees. Steps that the Scottish Government has taken include regular meetings with banks to make clear our disappointment with the scale of closures and the lack of consultation with communities in many cases. We also look at alternatives. One of those alternatives is credit unions, and it is worth noting that a much higher level of the Scottish population, at 7.3 per cent, is enrolled in a credit union than elsewhere in the United Kingdom. In November, we launched a campaign to encourage people to sign up to credit unions. We have previously funded junior saver schemes and the First Minister has written to employers to look at partnering with credit unions. We have also engaged with the Post Office.