Plans to close Clydesdale Bank in Wishaw reintroduced after stay of execution

The branch was originally due to shut last month but a postponement followed the lockdown introduced in response to Covid-19.

Plans to permanently close the Clydesdale Bank in Wishaw have been reintroduced following a stay of execution.

The branch was originally due to shut last month but a postponement followed the lockdown introduced in response to Covid-19.

Owners Virgin Money UK PLC has announced the restart of its integration programme, with the Stewarton Street branch one of seven in Scotland earmarked for closure.

“Lower usage” and the continuing “downward trend” of branch transactions were cited as the main reasons for the closure now scheduled for September 9.

SNP councillor Fiona Fotheringham has described the decision as a “massive loss to the town”.

“I am again concerned to receive notice of the Wishaw Clydesdale Bank closure,” she said.

“Customers will now be expected to travel to Motherwell for face-to-face assistance, or otherwise be forced online for digital banking.

“More and more people are being driven into hardship with the current Covid pandemic. The DWP online systems are pushing payments through bank accounts rather than local post office accounts.

“Some of the most vulnerable people in our communities, who are already struggling, will find themselves even more financially excluded.

“It is another massive loss to our town, where businesses are struggling to survive both the pandemic and falling footfall.

“I urge everyone, wherever possible, to shop local and continue to support our town.”

Conservative councillor Bob Burgess urged customers to “move accounts” away from Virgin Money Stores, to shop local, and continue to use cash in a bid to prevent a “cashless society”.

He said: “What a let-down for local people and especially business owners in Wishaw who have just reopened after nearly four months of lockdown, it doesn’t surprise me, this is another nail in the coffin of Wishaw Main Street.

“Banks are deserting the high streets of Scotland bit by bit in their quest for a cashless society and this terrible virus has created the ideal conditions for the banks to further their end goal.

“We can move accounts, we can use more cash transactions, but even getting that cash is becoming more difficult as banks shut off ATM machines.”

Around 500 full time equivalent (FTE) posts were expected to be lost across the group as a result of the programme but that number has reduced to around 300 FTE.

Virgin Money UK has pledged that affected branches will engage with vulnerable customers and introduce measures such as visiting the local Post Office or nearest branch with customers if requested.

Affected Scottish branches make up almost a third of the 22 Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank branches set to close in the UK.

Another 30 will consolidate with existing branches within half a mile, with all remaining Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank branches being rebranded as Virgin Money stores as the group moves towards a single brand by January.

Compulsory redundancies are being kept to a minimum according to Virgin Money UK.

Lucy Dimes, Group Business Transformation Officer at Virgin Money UK, said: “While the decision to recommence these redundancies and branch closures has not been taken lightly, we are committed to integrating Virgin Money under one brand as a sustainable, innovative business that invests in improving its customer offer.”

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