Dear Ms Hair
Closure of Kirriemuir branch of Bank of Scotland
Thank you for your letter of 15 November, addressed to Mr António Horta-Osório, our Group Chief Executive. I have been asked to respond on behalf of the Bank.
We have made the difficult decision to close this branch on 30 May 2019 due to the changing ways in which customers in Kirriemuir are choosing to bank with us. When we close a branch the decision is not taken in isolation but is part of a wider review of how customers live, work and bank in the local area.
Our industry and the wider economy are undergoing a profound transformation driven by technological change and digital innovation. Customer expectations are changing as more of us want the flexibility to choose when and how we access banking services be it online, by phone, in branch or through the Post Office, on weekdays, at night or on weekends.
This means that the majority of our customers now choose to bank with us in more than one way. For example, 66% of our personal customers at Kirriemuir use this branch and other ways to bank such as Internet and Telephone Banking. 55% of customers use Kirriemuir plus other Bank of Scotland branches.
One of our mobile branches will indeed visit the Kirriemuir area. The new service will be in place prior to the branch closing, to ensure customers become familiar with the service. Personal and business customers will be able to use the new mobile branches for many of their everyday banking needs such as making deposits (up to £5,000), withdrawing cash (up to £300 or £1,000 if pre-ordered) and paying bills.
Staff will also be on hand to help customers use Internet Banking and make general account or product enquiries. The mobile branch will also include full disabled access, including a disabled lift allowing wheelchair access, and a hearing loop will be installed.
Personal and business customers can withdraw money or check their balance, as well as pay in money and cheques to their account at any Post Office branch. The nearest Post Office is a short distance away, at 48 High Street, Kirriemuir, and we will be proactively talking to customers about the service they offer.
In line with our commitments under UK Finance’s Access to Banking Standard, we have written to affected customers, and our Local Director is engaging with businesses and the wider community to make sure they are aware of the alternative ways of accessing our services in the local area.
We have also conducted a full pre-closure impact assessment for the branch, and a summary of these findings has been published on our website, at: https://www.bankofscotland.co.uk/assets/pdf/contactus/pdf/BoS-Kirriemuir-Branch-Part-1.pdf.
The impact assessment included a visit to the branch and local area, and considered the availability of alternative banking facilities, public transport and the location of local Post Offices.
As we reshape our business, branches will remain an important part of our multi-channel approach and we expect to maintain the largest branch network in the UK. Around 95% of Lloyds Bank customers, and around 90% of Halifax and Bank of Scotland customers, have a branch within five miles of their home.
Thank you for your request for a meeting. I understand that colleagues are in the process of meeting with MPs and MSPs either in their constituencies or in parliament to answer questions on our decision and I believe you have already met with our public affairs team. However, if you do have more questions following your meeting please do not hesitate to get back in touch with me.
Simeon M. Brown