calls for new banking hub in Aberfeldy following TSB closure
Pete Wishart, MP for Perth and North Perthshire, has contacted UK Finance to call for a new banking hub to be set up in Aberfeldy. The proposal comes following the recent announcement that the TSB store in the rural Perthshire town will be closing in May this year.
As well as UK Finance, Mr Wishart has made the proposition of a new banking hub to NatWest, HSBC, Barclays, TSB, Santander, Virgin Money, the Bank of Scotland and the Post Office.
Last year, the Scottish Affairs Committee, which Mr Wishart chairs, published a report on access to cash which examined the changing habits of banking across Scotland and the UK. Among its findings were that rural communities in Scotland were disproportionately affected by bank branch closures and the wider trend towards banking digitalisation.
The report also examined the BankHub scheme, which has been piloted in several locations across the UK, including Cambuslang. The shared banking facilities, which are operated by the Post Office, aim to protect access to banking services for local customers and businesses. Originally set up as a 6-month pilot in April 2021, the Cambuslang BankHub has proven to be very successful and remains well utilised by the local community, with no plans to close it. Now, Mr Wishart is calling for a similar pilot to be established in Aberfeldy.
Commenting, Mr Wishart said:
“Last year, the Scottish Affairs Committee published a report on access to cash, in which we found that 53% of bank branches in Scotland have closed since 2015 despite half a million Scots still being reliant on cash.
“Bank closures have a disproportionate impact on rural towns like Aberfeldy, where residents have much further to travel to the next nearest branch. This is especially burdensome for elderly and vulnerable customers.
“That is why it is my firm view that Aberfeldy is an excellent location to establish a new banking hub, which have proved to be a huge success in other parts of the UK.
“I have now formally made this case to UK Finance, the body who leads the pilot scheme, as well as all major banks. Not only would this facility be a lifeline to the local community, but would also provide valuable data to banks who are desperately trying to adjust to the rapid digitalisation of the sector.
“These institutions have a responsibility to ensure that vulnerable and elderly customers are not left behind in this transition, and establishing a BankHub in Aberfeldy would be a fantastic way to meet that responsibility for customers across Highland Perthshire.”