Chief executive tells MSPs how decision was made to close Airdrie Savings Bank

The Bellshill branch of Airdrie Savings Bank will close in April
The Bellshill branch of Airdrie Savings Bank will close in April

The chief executive of Airdrie Savings Bank has appeared before MSPs to explain why the organisation is being closed down.

ASB will close its two branches in Bellshill and Coatbridge on April 28 as part of a phased shutdown of operations, with the loss of up to 70 staff.

The Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee heard the bank had weathered the financial crisis relatively well, but a combination of low interest rates, increasing digitisation and the cost of greater regulation led to the decision to close.

Chief executive Rod Ashley told the committee: “We undertook a strategic review of the options for the bank and that led us to the decision that the medium to long-term position was sufficiently uncertain that in order to act in the best interests of depositors we would take the decision to conduct an orderly wind-down of the bank affairs, in order that there might be a community benefit at the end of the wind-down process.

“We could have ended up in a situation where the bank may have continued making losses for a number of years to come and there would come a point by which the control of any wind-down would be taken out the hands of the local community, and out of the local trustees, and would be handled by the regulators.”

MSPs heard a ‘handful’ of staff had already secured new jobs and a consultation process is under way on redundancies.

ASB is understood to have about 10,000 current accounts and 30,000 deposit accounts, and all current accounts will close on April 28, with loans and mortgages transferred to TSB.

The head office in Airdrie will remain open for as long as is needed for customers to transfer their money to an alternative banking provider, which it is thought could take until the end of the year.