Bank and postal closures review call

Inverclyde Councillors have called for a root and branch review of bank and post office closures and how they have affected communities across Inverclyde.

The move comes following a motion proposed by Councillor Jim MacLeod and seconded by Councillor Christopher Curley.

Councillor MacLeod said: “All councillors have been approached by constituents with difficulties accessing cash following the closure of banks.  It has become difficult for many people but particularly having fewer and less accessible cash machines has an effect on residents with mobility issues.”

Councillor Curley added: “Access to banking and postal services is getting more difficult for residents. The rise of online services undoubtedly helps many but it doesn’t help everyone. Limited access to banking and postal services limits the ability of people to access shops and other local services.”

The full motion agreed by Inverclyde Council at its meeting on 23 September 2021 read:

Council notes with great concern the bank branch and post office closures across Port Glasgow over the past few years.

Inverclyde now only has one RBS branch. In Port Glasgow the RBS, Clydesdale and TSB have all closed their branches.

These closures have a very real impact on vulnerable members of our community who need access to banking and postal services.

We understand that banks are entitled to make commercial decisions which result in branch closures, however this is often detrimental to people's ability to access cash. Recent research conducted by Which found that almost 10 million people in the UK were not ready to stop using cash while over half of those aged 65 plus still do not use internet banking.

Access to cash is vital to local economic recovery especially post-pandemic.

Therefore Council believes that the UK government should introduce legislation which acknowledges that banks have a responsibility to ensure the local community and businesses can access cash and banking services. This legislation could also protect our vital post offices by mandating that banks provide their banking services via the already established and regulated post office network.

This motion:

• Requests that Inverclyde Council reviews bank and post office closures across Inverclyde.

• Requests the Chief Executive writes to the relevant minister stating the concern of the Council with respect to the above in relation to the impact on the local economy, on the well-being of the local community and requesting nationwide legislation to mandate that banks provide banking services via the post office network when local branches close.

It was also agreed at the Council meeting that a call is made for the removal of ATM charges for people to access their own cash.