Double blow for town as bank branches set to close

Bellshill branch of Airdrie Savings Bank.
Bellshill branch of Airdrie Savings Bank.

Bellshill has been dealt a double blow with the loss of two Main Street bank branches.

Airdrie Savings Bank is going out of business after more than 180 years while Bellshill is one of 40 Clydesdale Bank branches to close.

Bellshill is one of 40 Clydesdale branches to shut this year.

Bellshill is one of 40 Clydesdale branches to shut this year.

It means the town will have only two bank branches — Royal Bank and Bank of Scotland.

Customers have today spoken of their shock and sadness at the news.

Airdrie Savings Bank is Britain’s last independent savings bank and the closure of its remaining offices in Airdrie, Coatbridge and Bellshill will affect around 70 staff.

The bank closed several branches, including Motherwell, in 2015.

Chairman Jeremy Brettell said: “Whilst we are financially strong, a comprehensive strategic review of all future options concluded that we will not have - as a very small bank - the resources in the years ahead to provide the products and services our customers need in this increasingly digital world.”

Trade union Unite described the Airdrie closure as a “bitter disappointment”.

Regional officer Wendy Dunsmore said: “This announcement will come as a shock to many.

“Our understanding is that the bank has had to meet extra costs due to increased regulation following the financial crash of 2008. So Airdrie Savings Bank has become yet another innocent victim of casino bankers.

“We urge the Scottish and UK Governments and the banking regulators to work with us to explore all options for saving jobs.

“One of Unite’s first steps will be to talk to the Scottish Government’s Financial Services Taskforce which was set up during the banking crash to help redundant workers back into employment.”

One customer at the bank’s Bellshill branch said: “I’ve been with the bank for more than 60 years and have ben quite happy here. I feel for the poor people who will lose their jobs.”

Another said: “I’ve been a customer for 30 years since leavig school. I’ve never thought of going anywhere else.”

Meanwhile, Clydesdale Bank has blamed a drop in people using branches and the growth of online transactions for its decision to close 40 branches in Scotland.

The Bellshill branch will shut in May and customers there were not happy.

One said: “I switched to Bellshill when the Blantyre branch closed and now I’ll have to move again.

“I’ve been a Clydesdale Bank customer for longer than I care to remember, but I’m annoyed by this.”

Another long time customer said: “My wife and I don’t have online banking facilities and we prefer to go into a branch. Having to switch to another branch will be inconvenient for us.”