Discontent over banking

Banks lose customers’ trust following branch closures

Aberfeldy bank branch closure

A third of branches have closed in Scotland, including this one in Aberfeldy (pic: Terry Murden)


Fewer than four in 10 people in Scotland trust day-to-day banking services, according to new research.

Consumer group Which? found 39% of customers north of the border were satisfied compared to 45% in the UK as a whole.

It was reported that Scotland has lost a third of its bank branches in the last eight years, with the number of banks and building societies dropping from 1,625 to 1,015 between 2010 and 2018.

Which? said the “alarming rate” of closure of cash machines added to growing concerns that Scottish communities and businesses could face financial exclusion unless there is regulatory protection.

The Scottish Consumer Insight Report questioned 1,075 people in Scotland to create a picture of consumer attitudes in 2018.

Caroline Normand, Which? director of advocacy said: “Scottish consumers are struggling with dwindling day-to-day banking services and poor broadband connections, and our research suggests this could be having an impact on trust in these vital industries and demonstrates the need for a dedicated consumer body backed by the Scottish Government.

“If Consumer Scotland is to be a real force for improving the lives of ordinary people, it must take on board the concerns highlighted in this report – and make tackling them a top priority.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “This research demonstrates the continued reliance on banking services in everyday life and the importance of building and maintaining strong relationships between banks, customers and communities.”

The survey comes as bank chiefs face a grilling in the House of Commons on branch closures.  Santander, RBS, TSB and Royal Bank of Scotland will give evidence to the Scottish Affairs Committee on access to financial services.


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