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Banks failing to give rural communities fair access to their money

20 September, 2004

North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Philip McGuigan has said that 'banks need to do more to ensure that everybody has equality of access to their money'.

Mr McGuigan has written to all the major banks and building societies, to express his concern that a number of towns and villages in his North Antrim constituency have been left out when it comes to the provision of 24-hour cash machines.

Mr McGuigan said:

"In most cases nowadays people's wages and benefits are paid directly into their banks. This is all well and good except that in smaller villages and rural areas people have no access to ATMs. This means they have to drive sometimes as far as 10 miles to get money.

"Banks are always very keen to get their hands on our money. They should do more to ensure that those who live outside of the bigger towns in North Antrim are treated with the same respect and given the same service."

Party colleague Cara McShane has indicated that since her party's intervention "a number of banks are looking seriously at an ATM provision in the Ballintoy area."

Ms McShane said:

"This area is a popular destination. The lack of an ATM is stunting the amount of money these tourists are putting into the local economy. We are working with a number of banks to overcome this problem." ENDS

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