Third of residents sign petition against plans to close bank branch

Over 1,700 local residents have signed a petition protesting against the Bank of Scotland's decision to close.

Third of Dunoon residents sign petition against plans to close Bank of Scotland branch Rob Wilkinson

A petition challenging the imminent closure of a bank signed by a third of adults in an Argyll community has been handed over to the branch.

The document, put together in recent months, concerns the Bank of Scotland’s closure of the Dunoon branch, which is set to close its doors on Tuesday December 5.

Local shopkeeper Dinah MacDonald said that the community have “very real concerns” about the loss of the bank and criticised the company for not taking into account the ability of elderly residents to reach the nearest branch in Greenock – almost an hour long ferry away.

She said: “We’d been refused permission by the bank to deliver the petition to their headquarters in Edinburgh so delivered it to the local branch instead with superb support from local residents and elected officials. 

“The petition has been signed in person by over 1,700 folk. Many have written, phoned and emailed the bank and all have received the same standard letter back. All the signatures are from folk who have very real concerns about the loss.

“The bank refused to take into account the effect an unreliable ferry has on the ability of the elderly and otherwise vulnerable to reach the next branch in Greenock.

“Many of the stories we hear are of folk feeling this is the last straw when it comes to the loss of vital services in the area.

“The bank claims it is underused yet on many days the queue stretches out of the door and there is always a queue before the bank opens each morning.

“The petition has been signed by our MP and MSP, both of whom have written to the bank and local councillors have written a cross party joint letter. Many have written to the financial services ombudsman – all to no avail. We are told that our complaint is not valid.”

Argyll and Bute MP Brendan O’Hara, who delivered a speech before the handover, said the move was “indefensible”.

He said: “The Bank of Scotland’s decision to close this branch is absolutely indefensible. This is corporate greed at its worst.

“You can see the strength of opposition there is to this in the community. I will continue to press in Parliament for a change in this ridiculous decimation of our banking services in Argyll and Bute.”

A Bank of Scotland spokesperson said: “As many customers now choose to bank online or through their mobile app, visits to our Dunoon branch have fallen over recent years. 

“The local Post Office offers everyday banking, with cash also available at close by free-to-use ATMs, alongside other ways to bank such as online, phone and mobile banking services.”

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