A local politician believes Clydesdale Bank has “abandoned” its rural customers with the news of the closure of three of its branches in the Angus and Mearns area.
Mairi Evans, Angus North and Mearns MSP, has hit out at the bank’s announcement that its Brechin, Forfar and Stonehaven branches are to close as three of 40 offices that are being axed across Scotland.
Clydesdale has written to people in Forfar, Brechin and Stonehaven and the surrounding areas to confirm that the branches will soon be closed.
The bank is advising Stonehaven customers of the Ann Street office that their branch will be transferred to Aberdeen’s Queens Cross, Forfar customers that the Castle Street branch will be moved to the Dundee High Street one and it has listed Montrose High Street as the nearest branch for those who use the Panmure Street office in Brechin.
The move, as part of a £350 million reshape of services by Clydesdale will now make it far more difficult for locals in Brechin, Forfar and Stonehaven to obtain direct access to their local branches, according to Ms Evans.
She said at one time banks were one of the “cornerstones of a community” but claimed “there is nothing local” about asking some people in Forfar to pay to travel over 40 minutes on a bus to Dundee, asking customers in Stonehaven to pay to travel to Aberdeen, and some people in Brechin to pay to travel to Montrose to speak to their ‘local’ branches.
She continued: “I’ve already had some complaints from constituents about this decision and I feel they’ve badly let down the people of Stonehaven, Brechin and Forfar and the whole of North Angus and Mearns by deciding to close 75% of their branches in it.
“I’m stunned by this ridiculous decision. Clydesdale Bank have completely abandoned their rural customers in a move towards centralisation.
“It’s all good and well to cite the fact that greater numbers of people are accessing their banking through other sources - such as online - but for many, it’s not so easy to do that.
“Some, naturally, prefer the face-to-face interaction you get from your local branch and others simply don’t have the same level of internet access to do their banking online.
“I don’t believe that due consideration has been paid to those people with limited transport or internet access and I’ve written to Clydesdale for a full explanation.”
The branch in Stonehaven will close on May 15, the one in Brechin will shut the following day on May 16 and the branch in Forfar will close on June 1.