Sir Brian Souter hits out over Airdrie Saving Bank’s demise

Sir Brian Souter is critical of financial regulators. Picture: contributed
Sir Brian Souter is critical of financial regulators. Picture: contributed
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TRANSPORT tycoon Sir Brian Souter has warned that other smaller financial businesses are under pressure in the wake of the news of the closure of Airdrie Savings Bank.

Souter, who provided funds of £1 million to the bank in 2010 to help it grow following the near collapse of RBS and Bank of Scotland, said he was “sad that a bank founded on old-fashioned family values is having to close its doors”.

“Along with a number of other Scottish business people, I believed Airdrie Savings Bank had a bright future serving the people of Scotland.

“Unfortunately our efforts to encourage the growth of Airdrie Savings Bank were defeated due to the intransigence of the Prudential Regulation Authority.

“I believe that credit unions and other small financial businesses are unfortunately facing similar challenges,” he added.

However, the Association of British Credit Unions Limited (ABCUL) yesterday said that a “thriving” credit union sector in Scotland was “evidence that local banking is still very much alive and well”.

Chief executive Mark Lyonette said almost 100 credit unions in Scotland are providing savings accounts and loans to more than 387,000 people. Last year, the sector’s deposits and lending grew by 8 per cent, and Scotland has the fourth highest level of credit union membership in Europe.

He said credit unions were working together to meet challanges and ensure a local banking option is open to Scottish consumers as part of a “healthy, diverse financial services sector”.