Seeking assurance over long term future of Stranraer bank branch

An assurance is being sought over the long-term future of the Santander branch in Stranraer.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 29th April 2022, 3:17 pm
The Santander branch in Stranraer will close every weekday at 3pm from July 18

Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Finlay Carson has written to the bank’s chief executive officer Nathan Bostock seeking safeguards that it will not be closed.

This comes after Santander announced it will be changing the opening hours of its branch in George Street later this summer.

In a letter to its customers, Santander confirms that it will only open the Stranraer branch between 9.30am and 3pm on weekdays, effective from Monday, July 18. It is already closed at weekends.

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Mr Carson says it is important local banking and building society branches remain open for business.

He said: “We have already witnessed the sad decision to close the Bank of Scotland branch at Kirkcudbright which is obviously a great disappointment to many of its customers who enjoy the personal approach.

“Despite a growth in digital banking services, not everybody has access or indeed wants to carry out their banking in this way – especially many of the elderly customers.

“So, it is imperative that local banking services are maintained – and this means keeping local branches open. I believe it is totally wrong to force people to travel great distances in order to carry out their banking needs.”

Santander insists there will be no branch closures as part of the changes that are part of a national overhaul.

The company stated: “We have seen over recent years, that as well as using our branches, many more of our customers find it convenient to do their day-to-day banking online, through mobile or tel ephone banking.

“As a result, customers are visiting our branches much less, with branch transactions falling by 33 per cent in the two years before the pandemic, by 20 per cent in 2020 and by 12 per cent in 2021.

“By making these adjustments to our branch opening hours, this will allow branch colleagues to help more customers on the phone, where demand is now extremely high.”