West Scotland MSP Jamie Greene has asked ministers to oppose the closures of Bank of Scotland branches on Cumbrae and Arran, saying it will be “devastating” for the communities if allowed to go ahead.

During First Minister's Questions on Thursday, September 21, Mr Greene asked the Deputy First Minister if she would join him in lobbying Lloyds Banking Group to reverse the closures.

The Conservative MSP asked the question after it was revealed that Lloyds banking group planned to close 36 bank branches across the UK. 

The closure will leave only one bank branch left on Arran - a Royal Bank of Scotland facility, a short distance away along the seafront in Brodick.

For Bank of Scotland customers, their nearest branch will now be at Dockhead Street in Saltcoats - a ferry journey away.

Cumbrae will lose the island's only physical bank branch.

In his question, Mr Greene highlighted the “devastating” impact the closures would have on elderly residents less familiar with online banking, as well as businesses which operate in cash.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: MSP Jamie GreeneMSP Jamie Greene (Image: Other)

The MSP has written to Charles Nunn, chief executive of Lloyd Banking Group, which owns the Bank of Scotland, to ask that the group reconsider its decision to close the branches.

Mr Greene also highlighted the issue to the UK Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Andrew Griffith and Neil Gray, Cabinet Secretary for Wellbeing Economy, Fair Work and Energy in separate letters.

He said that he understood banks needed to take tough financial decisions based on revenue and footfall, but that island communities were not the places to make the cuts.

The West Scotland MSP said: “Whilst I understand the need for banks to respond to changing customer behaviour, physical bank branches remain an indispensable service for island communities.

“Our island communities are unique within the UK; they are more isolated and without alternative access to cash or financial support should they need it.

“It isn’t right to force islanders to rely on the mainland for access to their money. We should be supporting our island communities to be sustainable, but taking away this vital service will do the opposite.

“That’s why I’ve written to the CEO of Lloyds Banking Group and the Economic Secretary to the Treasury.

“I hope that Lloyds Banking Group will acknowledge the unique requirements of island communities, and I look forward to a response from Mr. Nunn.”