Perth High Street has suffered a fresh blow as bank HSBC has announced plans to close.
HSBC is closing a further 69 bank branches in the UK this year. It follows another 82 closures announced in January last year.
The Perth High Street branch – located opposite Marks & Spencer – will shut on July 26.
Its branch at Dundee Murraygate is not on the closure list. HSBC has no branches in Fife.
Why is HSBC Perth closing?
HSBC said the bank closures are because of customers switching online.
HSBC said that less than 50% of its customers now regularly use it branch network, with footfall dropping sharply over the past five years.
A spokesman for the bank said it hopes to redeploy all 400 staff to new roles.
Jackie Uhi, head of HSBC UK’s branch network, said: “The way people bank is changing – something the pandemic has accelerated.
“Our branches continue to support people with their more complex banking needs.
“But the way we can do this has also evolved, with the addition of banking hubs, community pop ups and continued use of the Post Office network.
“Rather than a one-size-fits-all branch approach, it’s an approach built around the way different customers are choosing to bank in different areas.”
HSBC said all of the branches that are closing, including Perth, have a Post Office within 1.5 miles which can handle “day-to-day banking transactions”.
Jobs blow for Perth
Perthshire North MSP John Swinney said: “Today’s announcement will justifiably be a cause of concern for customers, and particularly those who feel most comfortable visiting the branch.
“Often the customers who rely most heavily on in-person banking are the elderly and vulnerable, or those who due to a disability find it difficult to use telephone or digital banking.
Perth and North Perthshire MP Pete Wishart added: “I am really disappointed to hear that Perth’s HSBC office is set to close.
“This will be a burden on customers, particularly those living rurally, with the next nearest branch 21 miles away in Dundee.
“John Swinney and I are seeking to hold a meeting with HSBC management to gain clarity on what this means for job losses in Perth, and what is being done to mitigate the impact of the closure.”
Murdo Fraser MSP, who represents the Mid Scotland and Fife region, added: “This is another jobs blow to Perth and is sadly following a pattern of High Street bank branches closing down.
“It will leave another vacant site in Perth city centre and follows on from job losses at OVO Energy, Debenhams and Beales in Perth.
“We understand that there is a small staff at the Perth branch.
“But nevertheless, it is still a concern to lose these jobs and see another bank branch close in the city.”
Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Liz Smith MSP, said: “I realise many people use online banking these days, but banks should realise a lot of residents, particularly elderly people, don’t do so.
“A move like this is ripping the heart out of many of our communities in Perth and Kinross.”
A full list of closures can be found here.