Coldstream bank is to close

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The Bank of Scotland has announced that they are closing their Borders branches in Coldstream, Lauder and Newtown St Boswells and Wooler in north Northumberland.

The bank says that the decision has been made following a drop in customer numbers, and have indicated they intend 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.

The Coldstream branch will close on October 26, Newtown St Boswells on October 19, Lauder on October 24, and Wooler on October 23.

A spokesperson for Bank of Scotland said: “We will close the Coldstream branch on October 26, 2017 due to the changing ways customers choose to bank with, which has resulted in customers using it less often.

“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 Kelso.

“Alongside other ways to access banking locally, we will introduce a new mobile bank branch service which will visit the Coldstream 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.”

They added that for Wooler customers the closest alternative branch is Berwick-upon-Tweed and that a new mobile branch service will operate there once the branch closes in October.

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

The news means that there will now be no permanent banking services for either communities after the Royal Bank of Scotland closed its branch in Newtown a few years ago.

Local 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.

John Lamont MSP 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.”