Politicians hit out at closure of TSB bank in Kirkintilloch

Two local politicians have called for an immediate meeting with TSB bosses following the bank’s decision to close its Kirkintilloch branch.

TSB bank closure

East Dunbartonshire MP Amy Callaghan and Stuart McDonald MP have slammed the decision, which would leave East Dunbartonshire with no TSB branches, as “short sighted” and a “betrayal” of customers.

Ms Callaghan said when bank bosses decided to close the branch in Bishopbriggs, customers had been reassured that they could continue to use the branch in Kirkintilloch four miles away.

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The latest announced closure will leave customers in Kirkintilloch with a journey of over seven miles to the nearest branch in Cumbernauld, a situation that Ms Callaghan described as “ludicrous”.

The closure comes as the TSB announced a pre-tax profit of £42.9 million at the 2021 half-year financial results, turning around a pre-tax loss in 2020 during the height of the pandemic.

Ms Callaghan said: “This is the wrong decision at the worst possible time.

"We are still dealing with a global pandemic where we want people to stay close to home to slow the spread of the virus – and it is now that the TSB decides to close the Kirkintilloch branch and expect people to travel further to do their banking.

“It is a short-sighted decision that doesn’t even make business sense.

"While customer branch transactions were down across the TSB network due to the pandemic, the drop in use at the Kirkintilloch branch was well-below average.

"That surely tells us that the branch is playing an important role for local people, particularly vulnerable customers.

“To be frank, it is a decision that few local people will understand given the overall profits recently recorded by the TSB.

“I look forward to meeting with bank bosses to oppose this branch closure in the strongest possible terms.”

The local branch is one of nine in Scotland being targeted by bank bosses. TSB said staff would be redeployed.

The bank said branches affected have a third fewer transactions than average, and nearby Post Offices can provide counter services.

The Unite union said the plans marked the bank's "latest retreat from the high street".

General secretary Sharon Graham said: "TSB axing a quarter of its branches in 2022, on top of the numbers already closed, is a bitter blow for many communities.

"Unite has consistently argued that local banking and access to cash is essential especially for those on lower incomes."

Pople have been expressing their dismay over the closure of the Kirkintilloch branch on social media.

One posted: “So sad, been a member since i was a child."

Another posted: “This is ridiculous. Quite apart from the sadness for the staff at Kirky, this means customers will have to go to Glasgow to engage in person with the bank.”