On my last day at Westminster recently, I spoke - raged - in a debate about local banks closing, having been notified that Virgin Money was to close in Giffnock, and that TSB was to close in Clarkston and Barrhead.
Of course everything has moved fast since then, but I am pleased to have had news that that the Giffnock Virgin Money branch has received a stay of execution.
Virgin Money – which merged with Clydesdale Bank plc last autumn – announced that it will not now proceed with plans to consolidate its network of local branches “until further notice”.
I had pressed Virgin Money to reconsider their plans, so this is a glimmer of much needed positive news.
The decision not to proceed with the planned closures and consolidations in the branch network at this time is to be welcomed. I hope that there will now be proper consultation on this issue so that people in Giffnock – and other communities – will not suffer as a result of this banking merger. I look forward to discussing the matter further once the current crisis is over
As spokesperson for Virgin Money has said: “This decision recognises the unprecedented impact that the spread of Coronavirus has had in the UK and the uncertainty the current situation brings for everyone.
“At Virgin Money, we are fully committed to supporting our customers and employees during this challenging period. Our priority is to continue providing financial services for customers whilst keeping our colleagues safe.”
She added: “While we are committed to protecting our branch and contact centre services, we are encouraging all customers to use mobile and internet banking as the safest and quickest way to take care of the majority of their banking needs. This helps to leave our physical spaces and phonelines as clear as possible for those customers that need them the most.”
I hope that TSB likewise reconsider their plans, given the very challenging situation we are all facing just now.
Slightly aside from the issue of bank closures, which is the very last thing we will need after our high streets shops open their doors again, I hope everyone is aware of the services of Pioneer Mutual Credit Union, the excellent East Renfrewshire credit union, which continues to operate, providing much needed banking services in our local area.