Concern on Deeside over bank closure

The nearest Clydesdale branch for Aboyne customers is in Banchory
The nearest Clydesdale branch for Aboyne customers is in Banchory

Concern has been voiced on Deeside after the Clydesdale Bank confirmed that Aboyne will be among several North-east branches to close.

Around 40 branches throughout Scotland are to be axed with the move being prompted by the trend towards electronic banking.

Aberdeenshire West MSP Alexander Burnett will be contacting Clydesdale bosses

Aberdeenshire West MSP Alexander Burnett will be contacting Clydesdale bosses

Aboyne is due to close on May 17 with Banchory the nearest for customers.

One councillor has called on the bank to reconsider, saying the Aboyne branch is vital to the community.

Other North-east closures are Aberdeen Riverside, Aberlour, Banff, Buckie, Fraserburgh, Stonehaven and Mintlaw.

Gavin Opperman, Clydesdale’s customer banking director, said: “While the decision to close any branch is never an easy one, it is important that we, in line with other banks operating in the UK market, continue to respond to changes in the way customers want to bank with us.

Councillor Peter Argyle is urging the Clydesdale to reconsider its decision

Councillor Peter Argyle is urging the Clydesdale to reconsider its decision

“The changes announced continue our journey towards a model that combines an enhanced digital platform with a right sized branch network, allowing customers to interact with us through a wide range of channels – mobile, online, telephone, in-branch – whenever and however they want.”

Union leaders said the branch closures would be “concerning” for local communities.

Aberdeenshire West Conservative MSP Alexander Burnett said that in areas like Aboyne people still relied on the bank and wanted face-to-face contact.

He added: “It is a sign of the times and changing customer habits that local bank branches are closing across the country.

“Not everybody will be in a position to drive to Banchory, while local bus services are not always as reliable as they should be. “I will be contacting the bank to ensure that those who need to access services can still do so at the Post Office and that these changes will be communicated clearly to all customers well in advance of the closure.”

Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside Councillor Peter Argyle said: “There has been a pattern of banks closing branches for a number of years now and this decision by the Clydesdale is just the latest in this process.

“Whilst on-line banking and other technological solutions can meet the need for banking services for some people, the gradual withdrawal of physical banking facilities from our communities undoubtedly impacts on those individuals and businesses who rely on being able to access a branch easily.”

He added: “The Clydesdale Bank has been a high-profile presence in Aboyne for a great many years. I have no doubt that its closure will impact on the whole of Deeside and call on the bank to reconsider. This branch is one that is vital for its customers, for local businesses and for the community.

“I will be looking at what steps are open to us to try and reverse this very damaging decision by the bank but recognise that changing the Clydesdales mind will not be easy.”