Bank of Scotland to close Wooler branch

Wooler. Picture by Tom Johnston
Wooler. Picture by Tom Johnston

The Bank of Scotland has announced that it is closing its branches in Wooler and Coldstream.

The Wooler branch will close on October 23 and the Coldstream branch on October 26.

The bank says that the decision has been made following a drop in customer numbers, and has indicated it intends to replace the branches with a mobile van service.

They are among the 100 Lloyd, Halifax and Bank of Scotland branches being closed - 54 Lloyds bank branches, 22 Halifax branches and 24 Bank of Scotland branches - between July and October this year.

A Bank of Scotland spokesman said: “We will close the Wooler branch on October 23 due to the changing ways customers choose to bank with, which has resulted in customers using it less often.

“Alongside other ways to access banking locally, we will introduce a new mobile bank branch service which will visit the Wooler area. This new mobile branch will provide a vital service to the local communities it visits, by giving customers access to everyday banking services such as making deposits, withdrawing cash and paying bills. Our mobile branch colleagues will also be on hand to help customers access online banking and answer any general account or product enquiries.

“We apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause and have informed customers of the new mobile branch service, which will be operational prior to the branch closing, as well as the closest alternative branch, which is Berwick.”

The writing was on the wall for Coldstream when its opening hours were reduced to two days a week in 2015.

Borders MSP John Lamont has strongly criticised the decision, saying that the move will see these communities lose a key service and he has asked for a meeting with senior management of the Bank of Scotland.

Mr Lamont said: “This is very concerning news and I am deeply disappointed that the Bank of Scotland have chosen to shut these branches. This move will see communities lose a key service, in addition to putting jobs under threat.

“I know that the branches in Coldstream and Newtown St Boswells are highly valued by those in the community who use them, and many of these customers will be angered to hear this news. It now means a total withdrawal of banking service for Newtown and Coldstream.

“Although the Bank of Scotland says that customer numbers have been falling, I know that these branches are used by local businesses and people who struggle to bank online or over the phone.

“The Coldstream branch moved to reduced opening hours in 2015, despite being very heavily used in what now appears to be a move towards closing the bank entirely.”