Village’s only bank to close

The Polmont branch is scheduled to close in November. Picture: John Devlin
The Polmont branch is scheduled to close in November. Picture: John Devlin

A Falkirk village is about to lose its only bank after the company announced it was closing the branch

Bank of Scotland is planning to close 23 branches across the country, with Polmont among 14 which have been identified as the “last bank in town”.

A spokesman said the decision is part of a three-year strategy of closures, announced by the lender’s parent Lloyds Banking Group, in 2014. The bank spokesman said: “As part of this strategic review, we can confirm that Bank of Scotland will be closing 23 branches. In most cases, this is as a result of falling customer demand while in others it is because of overlaps with other nearby branches.

“These changes will not result in any compulsory job losses. We aim to redeploy everyone currently working at a closing branch to alternative Bank of Scotland branches.”

The announcement comes amid a series of Bank of Scotland closures over the past three years which has meant nearly one in every six branches has closed.

Local politicians have pledged to investigate whether the Polmont branch in Station Road can be saved from closure, which is scheduled for November.

Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald said: “Banks play an important role in many small communities for both local people who may not have the luxury of broadband for internet banking, or indeed the desire to use it and for local businesses who make transactions in cash and need somewhere secure to deposit it.

“Closing the branch in Polmont would mean having to drive over 12 minutes to the next nearest branch and with many elderly people having to rely on public transport, this would mean planning a day out simply just to go to the bank.

“This is very sad news and I will find out and report if these decisions are irreversible and what alternatives are planned for our communities.”

Referring to the 14 bank branches deemed as the last in town, the spokesman added: “Our customers’ behaviours and the way in which they interact with us are changing.

“We know they value the branch experience, but do so alongside our other channels such as online, digital and phone. We have made the difficult decision to close these branches because of changing customer behaviours, resulting in customers using them less often.

“However, the majority have at least one free cash machine within walking distance and all branches also have a local post office within walking distance.

“We are also looking to expand our existing mobile branch service to support some of the more rural communities.”

Falkirk MP John McNally said: “I’m sorry to hear of yet another Bank of Scotland closure in my constituency. These services are the life blood of any area and the communities who live there.

“I trust that the bank will make sure employees who wish to stay on are found suitable work elsewhere and I will help any constituent in any way I can.”

Full list of Bank of Scotland closures:

Aberdeen John Street Aberlour, Moray Bishopton, Renfrewshire (last bank in town), Broadford, Isle of Skye (last bank in town), Coupar Angus, Perthshire Cullen, Moray (last bank in town), Currie, Midlothian (last bank in town), Drumnadrochit, Highland (last bank in town), Edinburgh St Andrew Square, Edinburgh Stockbridge, Edzell, Angus (last bank in town) Fochabers, Moray (last bank in town), Glasgow Central Station, Inveraray, Argyll & Bute, Kinghorn, Fife (last bank in town), Lochcarron, Wester Ross (last bank in town), Macduff, Aberdeenshire (last bank in town), Melrose, Borders, New Pitsligo, Aberdeenshire (last bank in town), Perth West End, Polmont, Falkirk (last bank in town), Portsoy, Aberdeenshire (last bank in town), Scone, Perthshire (last bank in town).