Stop the closure of the Thurso TSB branch

Stop the closure of the Thurso TSB branch

355 have signed. Let’s get to 500!

Why this petition matters

Started by Cllr Struan Mackie

TSB has announced the 70 branches it plans to close in 2022, with branches across the length and breadth of the country impacted. 

Thurso is included in the list threatened with closure, with the proposed mothballing ending a century-old relationship with the town.

Through Aberdeen Savings Bank, TSB and LLoyds establishments the bank has served customers in the mainland's most northerly town and in return customers have given their patronage, trusting the bank with their savings, pensions and mortgages.

The last significant change for this branch involved Lloyds Bank being broken up under competition rules. This resulted in the TSB Bank plc being re-launched and customers in Thurso moved to the brand without any choice. At the time, the company adopted a motto of 'Welcome back to Local Banking' to persuade customers that the change would be a positive one. 

Trying to justify the closures, TSB has repeatedly outlined that the branch is underutilised, with only one 'regular customer' and that digital services will supersede branch offerings going forward. We believe that this is a deliberately misleading statement on a number of counts:

  • Given that a regular customer is one that 'conducts in-branch banking 50 of 52 weeks in a calendar year', these numbers are in no way reflective of the actual number of customers who use the branch on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

  • The second cause of concern is around the proliferation of digital offerings in a community that has a significant elderly population and therefore less likely to be connected to digital applications and online tools. It is simply not believable that all current customers will be able to access TSBs digital offerings. 

  • Many chose not to bank online for various reasons, including concerns about security, and the aforementioned lack of confidence or not owning a computer or technology. The ability to walk to a local branch and discuss their banking needs is important. It is always better to speak to a real person than try and understand jargon on a computer or phone screen.

  • Many local businesses use this branch to do conduct their daily banking and we know that several businesses in Wick were transferred to Thurso on the closure of their branch in 2021. Business requires certainty and yet another closure will provide unjust concern for local employers. 

  • Lastly, many people have no means of travelling to alternative branches. We know that many of the branch customers travel from across Caithness and Sutherland to bank in Thurso, using these regular visits to the branch to conduct other activities in the town, including chemist visits, access to postal services and the weekly shop. 

Having a local bank is something people look for when moving to our area and simply an essential for retaining the people we have. It is unacceptable that we are expected to rely on the already heavily used, and under-staffed, local Post Office that has already been tasked with supporting former Clydesdale customers in addition to providing a frontline postal service. 

TSB’s lists their ethos as 'to support local communities - this is not in keeping with their attempts to close the Thurso branch. 

We urge them to reconsider and live up to their commitment to bring back local banking that they proclaimed when the branch re-launched in 2013. 

355 have signed. Let’s get to 500!