CLYDESDALE BANK CUSTOMERS in Forres will soon have to do without a local branch as the service is scheduled for closure later this year.
Customers calling at the bank this week were being handed notices informing them of the plans to transfer all accounts from the Forres branch of the bank to Elgin – and inviting customers to use Post Office Counters as a means of paying funds into their accounts.
In its notice to customers the bank explained that they had “noticed a decline in the number of people visiting us in branch, and a big increase in customers accessing services online and over the phone”.
The notice added: “That’s why it makes sense for us to invest in these channels – and in developing and delivering new and innovative products to make your everyday banking easy and convenient.”
Confirming that the branch will close from September 15, the notice adds that all customer accounts in Forres will be transferred to the Elgin branch “automatically from that date”.
Clydesdale customer and chair of the Dyke Landward Community Council, Carol Shaw, confirmed that the issue would be discussed at their next meeting in June.
She said: “While some of the services offered by the bank will be available at the Post Office, not all will – in order to pay cheques in I and other Forres branch customers will have to use a bank giro credit slip and a Clydesdale Bank Post Office Service Cheque Deposit Envelope and wait for several days for the money to be credited to my account.
“The alternative will be to travel to either Elgin or Inverness to bank cheques. Services that the Post Office will not be able to offer at all include transferring money between accounts, cancelling standing orders or direct debits and, obviously, not being able to discuss my finances with a member of staff at the bank.
“Whilst I am aware that tele-banking and banking via the internet are all the rage this does not solve the problems for many customers.
“Thought also needs to be given to elderly and sometime confused people who visit the bank on a regular basis to pay in and withdraw money, and I’m concerned that they may now find themselves having to make the journey to Elgin in order to do this.
“This closure is also going to impact on the businesses that use the Clydesdale Bank as they will not have the same facilities they are used to – and queuing at the Post Office to pay money in is not something they are likely to want their staff to have to do.
“The Clydesdale Bank has made the decision to close the Forres branch without giving their customers the opportunity to air their views and seems to have forgotten that they are looking after their customers’ money and earning a good income from doing so.”
Notice of closure for the Forres branch of the bank came just a week after Clydesdale Bank confirmed they would be demerged from parent company National Australia Bank.
It is expected that the break-up of Clydesdale and the parent company would be completed by the end of this year.