Bank of Scotland has been urged to “think again” before closing a busy branch in the centre of Dundee.
Age Scotland has said elderly people could suffer as a result of the bank’s decision to close its Nethergate branch was announced last week.
The closure, which is expected to happen February and June next year. It is part of a series of closures including in Kirriemuir, Glasgow, Paisley and more.
The decision also comes less than a year after RBS announced it will be closing a slew of branches in the country, including Dundee, Perth and Montrose.
Brian Sloan, Age Scotland’s chief executive, said the a diminishing number of banking branches could prove detrimental to older people — highlighting that 67 percent of over 75s don’t use the internet so can’t use online banking.
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He said he even heard of one ordeal where a pensioner was forced to take a two-hour journey on a pair buses to reach her nearest branch.
He said: “This is really disappointing news, though unfortunately, it’s not surprising.
“Bank branches of all the large high street names have been closing at an alarming rate.
“Yes, many people now do their banking online. But it’s easy to forget that not everyone uses the internet or feels confident banking online. Although three quarters of Scotland’s older population is already connected, a substantial proportion are not — and this number rises with age.
“Physical branches are important to older people. They prefer having a face-to-face conversation about their finances with a real person. As older people are more likely to be targeted for scams, they’re less likely to go online or use the phone for banking and they shouldn’t be disadvantaged for making this choice.
“One caller to our helpline told us that after forgetting her account password, a telephone advisor told her she would have to ‘pop in’ to her nearest branch.
“The only problem was that she lived in rural Perthshire and the closest one involved a journey of almost two hours on two different buses.
“It’s important for banks to look for innovative solutions and not just take the easy route of closures. Our recommendation of shared banking hubs for smaller communities, suburbs and rural areas is gathering support from older people and politicians across Scotland.
“We believe the Bank of Scotland should think again before pressing ahead with these closures.”
A Lloyds Banking Group spokesman said: “These branch closures are in response to changing customer behaviour and the reduced number of transactions being made in branches.
“All branches announced for closure have a Post Office nearby, so customers can still access their banking locally.
“We continue to make a significant investment in our branches and are committed to maintaining the largest network in the UK.”