MSP fails to save bank branches from closure

The Clydesdale Bank branch in St Catherine Street, Cupar
The Clydesdale Bank branch in St Catherine Street, Cupar

A last-ditch plea by north east Fife’s MSP to try to prevent the closure of Clydesdale Bank branches in Cupar and Newport has failed.

Roderick Campbell wrote to the bank’s bosses urging them to reconsider, particularly as the Newport branch is the “last bank in town”.

But Jamie Maxton, the bank’s government affairs manager, has confirmed the closures – announced last month – will go ahead as planned, saying this had not been a decision taken without considerable thought and analyis, and citing a “substantial drop” in the number of transactions now being carried out in bank branches.

Mr Campbell said: “I am disappointed the Clydesdale has decided to follow through with its decision to close these two branches.

“I’ve urged serious consideration of how the existing services will remain available to those affected by the withdrawal of the bank from these areas.

“I’ve been assured that telephone, internet and mobile banking services will remain fully operational and ‘mainline banking services’ will be available from post offices. However, this will clearly offer little comfort to those who want to carry out transactions in branch.

“It’s essential customers do not encounter a loss of service and I will seek to ensure the Clydesdale continues to offer a full service to all of its customers in Newport-on-Tay and Cupar.”

Mr Maxton explained the Cupar branch had seen a drop in use of over 25 per cent over the last four years, and the Newport branch had seen a drop of nearly 20 per cent.

He said: “These declines are accelerating and unfortunately both branches have some of the lowest monthly usage levels of our UK branch network.

“We know many customers will continue to use telephone, internet or mobile banking after this change but we accept there will be some people who do not and will not begin to use these methods.”

He highlighted that for people in this situation, banking services were available through the Post Office, adding: “There is a post office within a very short distance of all the branches that will close. This arrangement is particularly important in Newport-on_tay where we are very conscious that we are the last bank in town.”