MP raises concerns over Santander branch closure

MP Lesley Laird has raised concerns with Santander about the upcoming closure of the bank’s Kirkcaldy branch.

During a meeting yesterday (Wednesday) it was revealed the closure – earmarked for June 13 – would place eight jobs at risk.

Across the UK, 140 Santander branches face the axe, with a loss of 1,270 jobs.

A third of those staff are expected to be redeployed but opportunities for Kirkcaldy staff are understood to be limited.

Meanwhile, customers in Kirkcaldy who wish to make face-to-face transactions will need to use a Post Office or travel to Dunfermline to use the nearest Santander branch.

Lesley Laird MP said: “It is an irony not lost on me that Santander has decided to close Kirkcaldy’s branch before undertaking a consultation, and have not yet even been in touch with Fife Council.

“While most banks cite the fact that customers can bank at Post Offices, sub/postmasters are reporting across the UK that they are struggling financially to provide banking services due to the fee being offered for transaction processing costs.

“I was told the bank is aware of this issue and is working towards solutions but that will obviously not happen overnight. Meanwhile, it puts strain on the Post Office network.

“Also, given the shocking scale of online and telephone scams in recent years, it remains unclear how banks such as Santander can ‘up their game’ to instil in customers the same trust they enjoy walking into a branch.

“Santander told me they are actively engaging with the banking industry in tackling fraud head on and have signed up to new banking protocols which provide better fraud protection.

“That’s encouraging, but the fast-changing nature and sophistication of these scams has exposed the fact that bank security systems have struggled to play catch-up and customers have often been left to pay the cost.

“I understand the challenges faced by the banking network, and the need to consider branch closures to stay commercially viable, but the speed and scale of closures must be tempered with the need to maintain security and acceptable customer service.

“I now intend to pick up with the trade unions and will continue to review the impact of the closure, in particular the impact on Post Office branches.”

Pic courtesy of Mike Mozart/Flickr