Last bank standing in Carluke is set to close

Following an in-depth review, Bank of Scotland has announced that its Carluke branch will close on June 27.

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The last bank standing in Carluke but this branch is now scheduled to close on June 27.
The last bank standing in Carluke but this branch is now scheduled to close on June 27.

It is the last remaining bank in Clydesdale’s biggest town so the news was met with much dismay locally.

Politicians have pledged to talk to the Lloyds group to see what can be salvaged.

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A similar meeting held over the closure of the TSB branch in Lanark resulted in the bank pledging to trial a pop-up scheme for six months when it closes in April.

Whether a similar deal can be struck for Carluke remains to be seen.

Clydesdale MSP Mairi McAllan said: “The announced closure of the Carluke Bank of Scotland branch is a blow to the community – and would mean the closure of the last remaining bank in Carluke. Leaving Clydesdale’s largest town without banking facilities is not acceptable.

“It is clear that urgent action is required by the UK government to stop banks from removing access to cash in our towns and villages.

“I am liaising with local colleagues to seek a meeting with Bank of Scotland as soon as possible.”

Lanark and Hamilton East MP Angela Crawley said she was “disappointed” by the news.

She added: “Clydesdale can ill afford to lose another bank as customers will be forced to travel further and further for banking services.

“Although customers will still be able to utilise some services at the Post Office, this is not an alternative to having a real bank in town.

“It is also disappointing that Bank of Scotland have used customer data from during the Covid-19 pandemic to justify the decision.”

Carluke is one of 60 branches Lloyds Banking Group is set to close across the UK, which includes 19 north of the border. The full list includes 24 Lloyds, 19 Bank of Scotland and 17 Halifax bank branches.

Trade union Unite has said the move could result in 124 job losses, although the company has not said how many workers will be affected.

Lloyds insisted it aims to offer a new role to all staff impacted by the closures.

The company said closures were driven by a surge in online banking demand in recent years, while branch footfall has also dwindled.

It claims to have 18.6 million regular online banking customers and more than 13 million mobile app users. These have increased 12 per cent and 27 per cent respectively in the last two years.

Vim Maru, Lloyds Banking Group retail director, said: “Just like many other high street businesses, fewer customers are choosing to visit our branches.

“Our branch network is an important way for us to support our customers but we need to adapt to the significant growth in customers choosing to do most of their everyday banking online.”

As part of the restructure, the group has published reviews of each bank it plans to close – by way of explaining the decisions.

However, including statistics from the pandemic lockdowns has been criticised by local politicians – who are now trying to arrange a meeting with bank bosses.

In the review for Carluke, the group stated: “Our customers’ needs are changing. Almost 18 million people now bank with us through internet banking and over 13 million use mobile banking.

“Branches will remain vital in meeting customers’ needs but we must continually review our network to make sure we have branches in locations where customers need and use them the most.

“As a result, we've made the difficult decision to close this branch because customers are using it less often. In addition the majority of customers are also using alternative ways to bank.

“Customers can use any of our branches and our nearest alternative is the Wishaw Main Street branch. They can also use a Post Office for everyday banking.”

Lloyds completed a “detailed impact analysis” prior to deciding to close the Carluke branch. It said this included looking at trends in the year to November 2021 and the four previous years.

It said it had taken into account public transport availability and frequency and the impact on local customers, including those who are vulnerable or may need additional support.

Its review found that many Carluke customers are already banking in other ways – with 75 per cent of local customers using other Bank of Scotland branches, internet or telephone banking

It said only 148 customers regularly used the branch in the 12 months to November 2021 – when the country was in and out of lockdowns.

A local community engagement and feedback report will be available for the Carluke branch at least two weeks before the permanent closure on June 27.