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Local elected representatives have reacted with anger and disappointment to the news that the Campbeltown branch of the TSB bank looks set to close on February 18 2021.
The bank has announced plans to close 73 Scottish branches – resulting in about 300 job losses – due to a ‘significant change in customer behaviour’, with more customers using online banking services. The closures will also affect branches in Lochgilphead, Dunoon and Rothesay.
Branches earmarked for closure were said to have been selected to ensure 94 per cent of TSB customers in Scotland remain within 20 minutes’ travel time of a branch – but it will mean a round trip of about four and a half hours to visit the closest branch to Campbeltown, which will be nearly 90 miles away in Oban.
Robin Bulloch, customer banking director at TSB, said: ‘These decisions are the most difficult we take, but we must always be guided by our customers – and we are clearly witnessing a substantial shift towards digital banking.’
Michael Russell MSP for Argyll and Bute said: ‘I am angry that once again a large, profitable organisation is withdrawing from this rural constituency purely because of cost cutting.
‘I made it clear to the bank’s director that if they were not prepared to support Argyll and Bute then they could not expect Argyll and Bute to support them and I am sure that many local TSB customers will now transfer to banks which still have a presence in their town although those are becoming ever rarer.’
In addition to the TSB, Campbeltown currently has a Bank of Scotland branch and a Clydesdale Bank branch. The town’s Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) branch closed in 2018.
South Kintyre’s councillors also expressed their concerns about the closure plans.
Councillor Donald Kelly said: ‘The TSB bank has served the local community for many years and the branch will be missed by many people. I feel that rural communities are being disadvantaged by this policy of closure.’
Councillor John Armour said: ‘I am very disappointed, especially in the current climate, that TSB has decided to close the Campbeltown branch. I said when RBS deserted Campbeltown that, with the drop in footfall through banks, perhaps it was time for banks to look at shared premises rather than completely withdrawing from smaller towns.
‘While there are many of us who use online banking, there are still many who don’t or don’t want to, so I urge TSB management to look again at alternatives to deserting Campbeltown in the way RBS did.’
Councillor Rory Colville said: ‘It’s vital that no-one is left behind by this move. While many people will already be using online banking, it’s important that all local customers are given the support they need to move online, and that there is clear information on what banking transactions can be done at the Post Office.’