Four banks closure is a drive towards ‘cashless society’, councillor claims

A Berwickshire councillor has condemned a drive towards a ‘cashless society’ as it was announced that four Borders banks are to close – including two in his own backyard.
The Bank of Scotland in Eyemouth ... one of the branches set for closure.The Bank of Scotland in Eyemouth ... one of the branches set for closure.
The Bank of Scotland in Eyemouth ... one of the branches set for closure.

Lloyds has announced that it will axe its branches in Duns, Eyemouth, Jedburgh and Newcastleton between October 2023 and February 2024.

Bank of Scotland – which operates under the Lloyds Banking Group – said in a statement: “The world is becoming more digital than ever before and more of our customers are doing their everyday banking online.”

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It’s a decision which East Berwickshire independent councillor James Anderson believes contributes to a worrying trend.

He said: “It’s another low blow by banks as they close more of our face to face banking options.

“As we are forced into a cashless society without being asked if that is what our communities want, it is time to use cash more than ever.

“A cashless society means one thing, the £1 in your bank will be worth less, as banks charge a percentage or standard charge for each digital transaction. By the time that £1 is used digitally five times it will be worth half the value. The banks profit hugely from digital transactions.

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“A £1 coin in your pocket used five times locally is still worth £1 because the bank hasn’t charged the business for transferring it to other people.

“Banks claim more of its customers are banking online after spending the last five years forcing people to bank on line, leaving little choice for face to face.”

Borders MP John Lamont has also expressed his concerns and is seeking an urgent meeting with bank bosses in a bid to have the decision reversed.

He said: “This is worrying news for people in the Borders who need to use local bank services in-person.

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“These closures will make life harder for many residents in Duns, Eyemouth, Jedburgh. I have requested an urgent meeting with Lloyds Bank and I will be strongly insisting that they reverse this decision.

“It unacceptable to leave so many loyal customers without access to cash. Banks must treat Borders residents better.”

Scottish Borders MSP Rachael Hamilton added:“I am extremely disappointed to hear that four bank branches will close, which will impact a lot of local people who rely on cash services.

“The lack of local banking facilities is a real problem across the Borders. I will be making it very clear to Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Bank that shutting these four branches is out of order.”