Rural banking survey

Photo of Rothesay by  Iain Mclean / HIE
Photo of Rothesay by Iain Mclean / HIE

Rothesay is among 14 communities across the Highlands and Islands being asked to take part in an online survey on rural banking services.

The survey, commissioned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), will be used to gather feedback from a broad range of individual households, businesses and community groups in areas expected to be affected by local bank branch closures.

Carroll Buxton, HIE’s director of regional development, said: “Rural communities around the Highlands and Islands are generally ambitious about their plans for growth, both in their local economy and their population.

“The removal of some local bank branches can present additional challenges in realising these ambitions.

“Factors such as access to business finance, and the ability to deposit and withdraw cash are fundamental to many local clubs as well as businesses and social enterprises.

“It is important for us to fully understand, from those directly affected, how important rural banking services are, and to look at how else these services might be provided, particularly in the context of rural branch closures.

“The findings of this study will be important in informing how we and our partners go about helping communities achieve their ambitions for growth and resilience.”

The Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse, said: “We welcome this consultation from HIE to seek communities’ views on rural banking services.

“We know how important local banking services are to individuals, businesses, and other groups in rural areas and support all efforts to ensure that essential banking services are preserved.

“We hope that the banking sector will take note of the survey and its findings, and listen to the views of local communities when developing the future plans for their rural services. We are continuing to engage with the banks to ensure that everything possible is being done for customers, local communities and staff.”

The online survey, open until April 13, will also gather feedback from Campbeltown, Inveraray Tongue, Wick, Kyle of Lochalsh, Mallaig, Aviemore, Grantown on Spey, Nairn, Inverness, Beauly, Tain, and Castlebay.

It can be accessed at www.hie.co.uk/access-to-banking-services-research. Hard copies are available if required.