Moray MSP in calls for branch closures rethink

Richard Lochhead MSP (centre) outside Lossiemouth BoS branch with community campaigners Carolle Ralph and Mike Mulholland

Moray MSP Richard Lochhead has called on Bank of Scotland to reverse plans to close bank branches in Moray, after Lloyds Banking Group unveiled a huge increase in profits for the year.

Lloyds Banking Group, which owns the Bank of Scotland, announced a 13% increase in annual pre-tax profits, reporting that operating costs remained broadly steady over the last year.

As reported on insideMORAY, Richard Lochhead MSP has been working with local communities and others to campaign against the closure of branches in Lossiemouth and Keith.  The closure of Lossie branch will leave the town without a single bank.

Mr Lochhead has held talks with Lloyds Banking Group and has urged them to reverse plans for closure.  The MSP also sought an intervention from the UK Government who has responsibility for banking regulations.

Mr Lochhead said: “News that Lloyds has seen profits rise over the last year forces us to question whether the planned bank closures in Lossiemouth and Keith are really necessary.

“Local people and businesses depend on having access to their high street bank and the loss of face-to-face banking will hit the most vulnerable people in Lossiemouth.

“It is not acceptable that Lossiemouth is set to lose its last bank in town whilst at the same time the Lloyds Banking Group announces increasing profits.

“If the Bank of Scotland is interested in growing its customer base and building trust, it should abandon plans to close branches, including those in Moray that are earmarked for closure.

“It is particularly galling for Bank of Scotland customers in Lossiemouth to see the bank abandon the community when it was public money that bailed them out in their time of need.  Now that the banking group is making these big profits, the least they could do is commit to keeping these local branches open.”