Martin Whitfield, East Lothian Labour’s candidate for the Scottish parliamentary election, is calling for an innovative new banking hub concept to be piloted in Prestonpans.
Mr Whitfield has contacted OneBanks, a UK startup that is working to put fully-staffed banking kiosks in places that high street lenders have left, to suggest the town as a location to pilot one of its kiosks.
The company already has a kiosk in Denny, with others due to open soon in Lochgelly and Kilwinning as part of plans for more than a dozen initial pilot locations across Scotland, creating dozens of jobs, by the end of this year.
The call follows Mr Whitfield’s survey on the future of banking services, which has already identified strong support for exploring the banking hub model as a possible way to provide services in local communities.
Martin Whitfield said:
“East Lothian’s towns and villages have experienced a steady withdrawal of banking services and branch closures over many years now. It has left several communities, including Prestonpans and the whole of the Preston, Seton, Gosford ward, without any immediate access to a bank branch and growing financial exclusion for those who do not use alternatives such as online or phone banking.
“I believe that a shared banking hub model could represent a positive way of bringing banking services back to Prestonpans and possibly other local communities that have been left without a branch. OneBanks is already piloting its new model in other communities and I have contacted them to suggest that Prestonpans would be an ideal location for another pilot service.
“If they brought the service to Prestonpans it would give individual and business customers an opportunity to demonstrate that there is still an appetite for community banking services. This is especially the case in the wake of the impact of the pandemic, with fewer people commuting into Edinburgh and more local shopping taking place.
“I hope OneBanks will give serious consideration to Prestonpans as a possible location for one of their kiosks and potentially help put us at the forefront of this innovative model for plugging gaps in banking facilities, helping tackle financial exclusion and creating some local jobs at the same time.”
Anyone who agrees that piloting the banking hub in Prestonpans is a good idea can find out more and back the call for the town to be considered as a location at https://onebanks.co.uk/requestkiosk/.
Mr Whitfield’s local banking survey, which only takes a couple of minutes to complete, remains open and can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/2LNL732