By Clare Carswell
SCOTLAND’S last surviving independent bank is launching a customer recruitment drive in the back yard of its big name rivals as the firm looks to bucks the economic trend with plans to expand its business operations.
Airdrie Savings Bank is 175 years old, has seven branches in Lanarkshire and is on course to grow further, with plans to open a new branch in 2011.
The bank will run the first in a series of Scottish recruitment roadshows in Edinburgh – home to RBS – in a bid to attract a significant number of new business and personal customers.
The first event will be hosted in conjunction with Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce and is to take place on November 17 and 18 in the chamber’s Festival Square Hub.
The bank has confirmed that there are plans to open at least one new branch outside Lanarkshire in the coming year and the roadshow is the first step towards achieving this.
General Manager of the bank, Jim Lindsay, said: “We have received a great deal of interest in our services from the people of Edinburgh and we felt it was appropriate to launch our roadshow programme in Scotland’s capital city.”
Although this tour will concentrate on the business community, it is expected that many new private customers will also open accounts.
The bank offers accounts that only require a 5p deposit which harks back to the bank’s roots in the “thrift” movement.
The group invested approximately £10million in the Airdrie Savings Bank which was announced in August this year.
Stagecoach founder, Brian Souter, was one of the millionaires to put his hand in his pocket. He said: “Airdrie Savings Bank represents what Scottish banks once stood for – security of funds, a focus on savings and outstanding personal service.
“We aim to bring this traditional blend to the people of Scotland by supporting the bank’s development as we believe the mutual principle is fundamental to the integrity of the bank.
“We are doing this because so many Scots are dismayed at what has happened within the banking sector.”
Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce is inviting its member businesses to attend the roadshow as well as reaching out to companies in Edinburgh city centre.
Graham Birse, managing director of the chamber, said: “We are keen to support the expansion of a Scottish bank which has been built on traditional values – security of funds, a focus on savings and outstanding personal service.”