Bank plans to move out of town centre

The Airdrie Savings Bank branch in Motherwell
The Airdrie Savings Bank branch in Motherwell

Customers have given a mixed reaction to news that Airdrie Savings Bank is to close its branch in Motherwell town centre.

Britain’s last independent bank has blamed the increasing use of internet and phone banking, plus extra regulatory costs imposed since the industry crisis in 2008, for its decision to re-structure.

Motherwell is one of four branches due to close later this year, leaving the bank with only four, including one in Bellshill.

Customers got the news when they called at the Brandon Parade branch this week.

One said: “It’s a friendly branch and always busy. I’m not happy as I’ll need to go to Bellshill now.”

Others said they were considering switching to another bank anyway since ASB recently started charging a £5-a-month account management fee. And customers who use cash machines from other banks must pay a 30p transaction charge.

One customer said: “It’s a shame to see it go, but I’ve been swithering about moving over this £5 charge.”

Another added: “I joined the bank more than 30 years ago when I was at school, but transactions take longer than at other banks and this 30p cash machine charge is a pain. It’s only through habit that I’m still with ASB.”

Motherwell and Wishaw MSP John Pentland was ‘very disappointed’ by the closure news. He said: “Not everybody wants, or is even able, to bank online or by phone.

“Airdrie Savings Bank has no shareholders, ostensibly being run in the interests of depositors. It has always had a strong commitment to the community and local economy, which makes this closure all the more concerning.

“This comes not long after the closure of the RBS branch in Cleland. We need to take a broad look at the banking sector and how it operates in communities, with a view to making it serve people’s long term needs rather than short term interests.”