Contact us on 01851 705743 or
email info@welovestornoway.com

Tarbert’s Bank of Scotland branch closes its doors for the last time on Thursday (22 February), after the banking company decided that most of its customers no longer need its services.

In a closing branch review document, Bank of Scotland’s assessors said: “The world is becoming more digital than ever before and more of our customers are doing their everyday banking online.

“With more customers choosing to use digital ways to bank and manage their money, visits at this branch have fallen. As a result, we've made the difficult decision to close it.”

In their review, the bank said personal customers using the branch were down by 59% on 2018, and business customers down by 17%.

And they found that only 32 customers use the bank monthly or more often, with 43% of personal customers also using other branches and 71% using other branches, telephone or internet banking.

The ‘other branches’ suggested by Bank of Scotland as alternatives are Stornoway, which they evaluate as a 65-minute bus journey away from Tarbert, and Portree which, they say, can be reached via ‘a short walk to Tarbert Ferry Terminal, a ferry to Uig Skye Ferry Terminal, along with a bus journey to the branch. Journey times are variable.’

They also suggest use of nearby cash machines in Tarbert itself, at Leverburgh or Timsgarry in Uig.

In feedback provided during the closure consultation, Bank of Scotland reports that regular customers were disappointed about the closure of the branch.

MSPs Donald Cameron and Alasdair Allan expressed concerns about the impact on more vulnerable customers and MP Angus MacNeil wrote to say that customers who cannot access private transport will face travel difficulties.

Councillor Paul Finnegan asked how elderly customers with no internet or knowledge of online banking would continue their banking and asked the bank to reconsider their decision.

In response, Bank of Scotland says, they called individual customers who use the branch as their main way of banking to talk to them about alternative ways to bank and to provide help if they need it.

They also introduced a dedicated telephony team to provide support after the branch closes to identified customers who may need extra support and a community banker is due to be coming to Tarbert to help customers make the transition to alternative services, including online.

Dates and locations for the community banker’s visit are due to be given via a dedicated page on the website at www.bankofscotland.co.uk/contactus/community-bankers.html

You can also see the full branch closure review report here www.bankofscotland.co.uk/assets/pdf/branch-reviews/bos-tarbert-harris-branch-part-1.pdf

The images show Bank of Scotland’s statistical evaluation of the fall in branch use between 2018 and 2023 (Bank of Scotland) and a view of the bank itself (Kurt Leibundgut).