25 November 2005


Banff & Buchan representatives Alex Salmond MP and Stewart Stevenson MSP have reacted furiously to the revelation that the Clydesdale Bank has blocked moves by the Royal Bank of Scotland to look at the possibility of taking over some of its branches earmarked for closure. It is understood that New Deer is among the locations being considered by the Royal Bank.

The Royal Bank of Scotland – which announced it would be operating a lifeline mobile banking service to those communities abandoned by the Clydesdale from January – had approached the Australian-owned bank formally to survey a number of their closure-marked sites in the North-east. This request was refused. Now local MP Alex Salmond says that this goes against comments made by Clydesdale top brass at a meeting in Maud earlier this month.

Mr Salmond commented:

“The rejection of the Royal Bank approach is contrary to what we were told by Steve Reid, Head of Retail Banking for the Clydesdale, at a recent packed public meeting in Maud.

“This is an astounding revelation which will cause fury in all the communities around Scotland where the Clydesdale is pulling out, but especially in the North-east, where they now seem to be actively undermining efforts by others to keep banking facilities available in rural areas.

“To pull the plug on your branches is one thing, but to actively prevent another bank from taking your place is quite disgraceful.”

Local MSP Stewart Stevenson added:

“I am furious at this news. The Clydesdale Bank are shutting up and shipping out. Their branches are already on the property market. I find it incredible that not only are they adopting this “dog in the manger” attitude towards rural banking, but also, by implication, are quite prepared to see these branches lie empty.

“Frankly, I am appalled by this attitude and the Clydesdale Bank does not deserve to retain the loyalty of its rural customers because it has shown no loyalty whatsoever towards our rural communities and is now actively working to undermine the business base in places like New Deer.”

Stewart Stevenson
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