Following the news last week that the Stonehaven branch of the Clydesdale Bank will close in May, the Federation of Small Businesses have said that the move “could destroy efforts to rejuvenate” the town centre.
The bank blamed “ongoing decline in branch usage” for its closure of 79 branches across Scotland.
Commenting on the announcement that Clydesdale Bank are closing their Stonehaven branch, Andy Willox OBE, Chair of the South Aberdeenshire branch of the FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) said: “This closure comes at a time when small firms are already struggling to access banking services. “Increased reliance on limited Post Office facilities and poor broadband connectivity have seriously impacted the ability of small businesses to bank effectively. This hurts their productivity and, ultimately, their bottom line.
“Our research shows that small businesses feel there is no substitute for in-person advice when tackling complex financial matters. To expect customers to travel – perhaps daily – to Aberdeen to carry out these transactions is unacceptable. Banks have a duty to ensure that what they leave behind works for all their customers. That means improved pick-ups for cash-based businesses, a modern, well-maintained ATM network and a practical solutions for business customers currently dependent on a local branch.
“The UK’s bank branch network has halved in size to just over 8,000 in the past 25 years. In Scotland, there are now fewer than 1000 active branches in Scotland. This has restricted small business output – the lifeblood of our economy. Many towns in Aberdeenshire have already lost local services because of big business or public sector re-organisations.
“And while on paper, it might make short term commercial sense to rationalise operations, the long term impact of these decisions on local communities could destroy the efforts to rejuvenate our high streets and save our town centres”.
Labour Councillor Raymond Christie shares the concerns of many local residents about the closure of the Clydesdale Bank in Stonehaven.
“The closure will be a huge problem for residents who cannot do on-line banking, “ said Cllr Christie.
“Some people have been associated with the Bank for many years and the alternative arrangements that the Bank has given to go to the nearest branch in Aberdeen are not at all suitable.”
Cllr Christie added “This closure also affects staff and I would urge the Clydesdale Bank to look at all avenues for keeping staff employed.”