McGrath says the SDLP has launched a campaign to save local bank branches.
SDLP MLA Colin McGrath has criticized the latest round of mass closures of bank branches and says that banks are letting down the people and communities who bailed them out and stuck by them for decades.
He was speaking as the SDLP launched a petition calling on the Minister for Economy to protect the network of bank branches and ensure access to financial services for all.
The South Down MLA said: “In the last ten years, communities across Northern Ireland seen more than half of our High Street banks disappear, with more than 100 branch closures.
“This is the loss of vital financial services in urban and rural communities, making financial services less accessible, and having negative knock-on effects for the high street.
“While online banking is convenient for many, it is too often not accessible to elderly people or those with poor internet connections. Local branches are a lifeline for many in our community.
“They aren’t just bricks and mortar but vital community assets, particularly in the context of a global health and economic crisis.”
“Today, the SDLP have launched a petition to send a clear message to our banks that we will fight for our local branches. We also urge the Minister for the Economy to take action to safeguard access to financial services and work to protect the network of local branches.”
“Banks need to realise their responsibilities to the communities they are supposed to serve. The UK and Irish Governments, using taxpayer money, supported banks through their crisis in 2008 and 2009. Now it is time for those same banks to support wider society through this crisis.”