Fury over Milngavie bank branch closure

editorial image

Local politicians have hit out at the new that Santander bank plans to close its branch in Milngavie.

The bank announced on Monday it intends to close the Main Street branch in November this year because of customers’ “changing needs”, including a move to online banking.

But Milngavie MSP Gil Paterson (SNP) and West of Scotland MSP Ross Greer (Greens) have written to the bank 
urging them to reverse the 
decision on “this vital resource” for residents and businesses.

Mr Paterson said: “Many of my constituents still rely on this important local amenity so I have asked Santander to reconsider the proposed closure.

“Often elderly, disabled and vulnerable constituents do not have access to online banking and these are the self-same people who will find it most difficult to travel more than five miles to Byres Road where the nearest branch of Santander would be.

“Smaller, one person businesses rely on local services as it is not feasible for them to take time out of the working day to visit a bank miles away.

“The nature of banking is indeed changing but as we progress we cannot leave anyone behind, there is still a significant need for face-to-face banking.”

Mr Greer said: “Whilst it is true some customers are moving towards digital banking, there are still people, particularly in Milngavie and Bearsden, for whom that simply isn’t an option, and these are the people who need an accessible local branch the most.

“For customers with limited mobility or reliant on an infrequent bus service, five miles is impossible distance.”

He added he would also seek clarity on the number of jobs lost as a result of the closure.

A Santander spokesperson refused to comment on job losses but after being contacted by the Herald, she said on Tuesday that local customers would be able to use the Post Office instead.

She said: “The way customers choose to bank with us is always changing so we regularly review our branch network to make sure it is meeting local customers’ changing needs.

“Sometimes this means making difficult decisions over our less utilised branches. Therefore, as a result of our most recent review, we have announced we will be closing five of our branches in Glasgow, including Milngavie, in November.

“This decision has not been taken lightly and follows a thorough examination of local trends in branch and digital channel usage, and alternative options available to our local customers.”

She added: “As an alternative option for those customers who want to bank locally and in person, all Santander current and business account holders can use one of over 11,000 Post Office branches nationwide.”