Date lodged: 31 August 2017
To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on the impact on rural communities of the recent closures of high street bank branches; what representations it has made to the UK Government on this matter, and what response it has received.
Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 28 September 2017
The regulation of banking remains reserved to Westminster and the Scottish Government cannot directly compel banks to maintain a branch presence where they have taken the commercial decision to close.
Banks who are closing branches in and across Scotland, must take into account the needs of all customers, including those in rural communities and vulnerable groups who may not be able to access digitally delivered services and who continue to rely on physical branches and face to face provision of banking services.
The Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work and I raised the issue of branch closures with representatives of Scotland's financial sector at the last meeting of the Financial Services Advisory Board on 10 May 2017. I was pleased to see a recognition from those present that consideration of the impact of closures was now necessary and we will continue to engage in that discussion with the banking sector and UK Ministers, as requested.