One of Britain’s newest banks has just announced it will start to close branches and reduce staff working hours from this summer.
TSB is the latest bank to fall victim to the way in which its customers use its services and from July 93 branches – 71 in Scotland and 22 in England – will open just two or three days a week.
Four branches – two in Edinburgh and one each in Aberdeen and Keith in Morayshire – will close altogether.
In a statement the bank said there had been a marked fall in branch visits by customers with a corresponding increase in mobile and online banking.
One branch in Glasgow had seen a 19% drop in footfall while overall the bank had seen a 90% rise in alternative forms of banking.
The statement on TSB’s website said it ‘remains committed to having a strong branch network’, adding: “There will also be no job losses as a result of these changes, with all partners in the closing branches being offered roles in other nearby branches.”
But the Federation Of Small Businesses in Scotland said the changes looked like a prelude to further branch closures.
Spokesman Andrew McRae said: “In scores of communities these changes will reduce local footfall, hurting the vibrancy of many of our high streets.
It will make it more difficult to run a business, especially if you operate in our cash-dependent retail and hospitality industries.
“UK ministers must stop sitting on their hands when it comes to bank branch closures and uncertainty over our cash machine network.
We need to see policy-makers look at the impact of these sort of closures on the economic health of local communities.”
TSB was re-created in 2013 when it was hived off by Lloyds Banking Group (LBG). The bank had been taken over by LBG in 1993 to form Lloyds TSB.
Then, 20 years later, 630 branches with 8,500 staff, serving 4.65 million customers formed a new-look TSB.
Both banks were still owned by the British taxpayer having been bailed out at the height of the 2008 financial crisis.
But two years later the government saw an opportunity to sell off the TSB brand when the Spanish Banco Sabadell bought it for £1.7 billion to gain a foothold in the UK banking market.
Closures of both branches and free to use ATMs have been hot topics for some time.
Which? surveys in 2018 suggested that as many as two thirds of all Britain’s bank branches had closed in the last 30 years and that 300 ATMs a month were also disappearing.
Spokesman Gareth Shaw said: “While online banking is on the rise, a third of the country still does not use it and, as we’ve seen from a recent spate of IT failures, such systems are not infallible.
“Despite the switch to digital ways of banking and paying, millions of consumers still need access to cash.
It is vital for a regulator to be given responsibility for ensuring that people have access to the services they rely on.”