Anger as Bank of Scotland closure plans set to leave Dunblane without a bank

Dunblane is set to lose its remaining bank branch after the Bank of Scotland announced its intention to close in the town later this year.

Lloyds Banking Group – who own Bank of Scotland – made the announcement on Wednesday that it intends to shut 60 branches across the UK, including 19 BoS sites, with the firm blaming the increased numbers of people making use of online banking rather than attending branches.

The Dunblane branch is one of those facing the chop, with the site set for closure on July 7.

It follows on from the Royal Bank of Scotland branch locking its doors in 2018.

The news of the closure has been slammed by community groups, who say both businesses and residents in Dunblane will be hit hard by the move.

David Prescott, chairman of Dunblane Community Council, said: “The community will be angry and frustrated with the closure of our surviving bank in Dunblane which is a real blow to the 10,000 residents and a further blow to our High Street.

“The branch is busy, often with queues reaching the door, so Lloyds cannot be claim that it is not used.

“This will particularly impact on those who cannot or do not wish to be forced into internet banking, which includes many of the more elderly members of the population.

The town lost its RBS branch following a similar closure in 2018

“Accessing face-to-face banking will now require a minimum 12 mile round trip to Stirling, which is completely contrary to Scottish Government’s policies to reduce travel and focus on local communities and ’20 minute neighbourhoods’ to hit net zero targets.

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“We find it really disappointing that the banks should choose to discriminate against, and disadvantage, their customers who need or prefer to bank in-person.

“We look to our local politicians to put pressure on Lloyds Group to reverse this decision and retain our surviving local bank and to work with the banks and regulators to find ways to retain choice in how people use banking services, including face-to-face banking.”

That pressure has already been applied by the town’s representatives at both Westminster and Holyrood, both of whom have criticized the decision to close the branch.

Stirling MP Alyn Smith said: “I’m very disappointed to learn of this decision, which is another example of a high street bank turning its back on loyal customers.

“While my office has been in close contact with representatives of the Bank of Scotland, and I stand ready to do anything I can to assist, I would urge the bank’s customers to think seriously about whether this company is worth their loyalty.

“People who originally signed up to a high street bank are now finding their current and savings accounts no longer offer the services they originally signed up for. There are many excellent alternative banks, some of which offer bonus payments just for switching.”

Stirling SNP MP Alyn Smith was critical of Lloyds for the plans

“I would again urge Bank of Scotland bosses to think again over closing an important bank branch.”

Clackmannanshire and Dunblane MSP Keith Brown added: “This is disappointing news indeed.

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“Everybody knows that the way many of us do our banking is changing but the banks have got to accept and understand that we still need them to have a presence on our High Streets.

“If the Bank of Scotland closes, there will be no physical presence from any bank left in Dunblane. Reference to the Post Office is all very well but that is no guarantee as my constituents in Alloa, for example, know only too well having been without their Post Office for seven months.

“I strongly urge the Bank of Scotland to change their approach, although I fear that minds are firmly made up.”

A Bank of Scotland spokesperson said: “Our branches are an important way for customers to get help with their everyday banking but, like many other businesses on the high street, fewer customers are visiting their local branch and are instead choosing to bank mainly online or on their phones.

“When our Dunblane branch closes in July customers can continue to bank with us at the local Post Office on Stirling Road which is a short walk away, as is the nearest free-to-use ATM.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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