Banking hub to open in Carluke

The doors closed on Carluke’s last bank branch, the Bank of Scotland, in June – with politicians unable to secure a lifeline for locals in desperate need of its services.

The last bank in Carluke closed its doors in June so the move has been warmly welcomed.
The last bank in Carluke closed its doors in June so the move has been warmly welcomed.

However, it has been announced that the town is one of 13 locations, four in Scotland, earmarked for a shared banking hub.

Natalie Ceeney, who chairs the Cash Action Group overseeing the project, said: “Cash still matters hugely to millions of people and with the cost-of-living crisis biting, more are turning to cash as a way of budgeting effectively. Banking hubs are an important part of the solution.”

Each time a core banking service such as a cash machine or bank branch is closed, an assessment is carried out by Link – the organisation which oversees the UK's ATM network.

The review studies the cash needs of the community, as well as the demographics and vulnerability of local residents. Locations have been identified as part of that work.

Customers of any bank can use the hubs to access their accounts, deposit cash and cheques and withdraw money at any time. Trickier enquiries are dealt with by a representative from one of each of the major banks who each visit once a week.

While the news has been welcomed, a note of caution was also sounded: ten other areas previously earmarked for hubs have not yet seen the doors open.

It can take months for a hub to open. As well as finding suitable premises, often changes are needed to ensure it is fully accessible and secure enough.

Clydesdale MSP Mairi McAllan has requested a meeting with Community Access to Cash Pilots, which is fronting the scheme.

She said: “I am pleased that Carluke has been chosen as a location for a new Banking Hub, following successful trials.

“Access to cash and banking services still matters hugely to my constituents in Carluke and across Clydesdale. After recent branch closures in the area, I am keen that this goes some way to filling the gap left behind.

“I am in touch with Community Access to Cash to discuss how the new hub can meet the needs of Carluke constituents.”

Lanark and Hamilton East MP Angela Crawley worked with Mairi to retain banking services locally.

She said: “This is fantastic news for Carluke and I am eager to see how these plans will progress.

“It was a shame to see the last bank in Clydesdale’s largest town close earlier this year. The town should never have been left without proper banking facilities so I am glad to see this will return.”

Age Scotland has also welcomed plans for a new shared banking hub in Carluke as a positive move for older customers who have faced difficulties accessing cash since the last remaining bank branch closed.

Adam Stachura, the charity’s policy chief, said: “We have been calling for the introduction of banking hubs for some time and we welcome plans to establish one in Carluke.

“However, banks should not offload responsibility or rely on them being set up to replicate the branches they have closed, or expect them to fully repair the damage they have done by letting down their customers and communities.”