Andrew has written to the Public Affairs Team at Virgin Money seeking a rethink over their decision to close the Banchory branch early next year. In the letter Andrew highlights the need to retain local banking facilities and the pitfalls of relying on other methods for customers to access services.
He says in the letter:
"Banchory is a large rural town with a population of some 8,000 residents. It is the main town along the Deeside corridor and as such offers vital services to a much larger number of people residing in the many rural settlements within easy reach.
Whilst I appreciate the reference to “other ways to bank”, the reality is many are not as accessible as they would be in an urban area. Internet banking is an option, but in an area known as one of the worst for broadband and mobile coverage it is certainly not a solution. Redirecting customers to the Aberdeen branch may also look like a feasible option on a map but is certainly not the case in reality. Not only is Aberdeen some 25 miles away but these are rural roads and harsh winters often make them less accessible. Not to mention the encouragement we are giving towards staying local and not using vehicular transport in aid of supporting the fight against climate change. I also accept the point regarding ATMs and the post office, however, there is no large number of ATMs in the town and should the machine be out of action it would indeed cause inconvenience. The post office is a small counter at the back of the local Coop and not, as may have been envisioned, a ‘standalone’ facility. Again, not an ideal solution.
I would very much appreciate the opportunity to discuss this with you at your earliest convenience so we can seek to find a solution that does not leave the town isolated without this vital banking facility."
Andrew hopes to meet with Virgin Money representatives within the coming weeks and will update concerned constituents who bank with them as soon as possible.