Bank of Scotland has explained why the last remaining bank branch in Cumnock is set to close next year.

We reported back in June that the Townhead Street branch will close its doors on February 12, 2024.

Customers were due to be contacted about alternative banking services that are available to them. However, it's understood some customers have not received direct correspondence about this.

READ MORE: Bank of Scotland branch set to close next year

The decision faced criticism, with Lloyds Banking Group, which owns the Bank of Scotland, initially saying the decision was taken because the number of customers at the branch is falling.

No jobs are set to be at risk, but more detailed information has be released behind the future closure.

The nearest branches available to those in Cumnock and the surrounding areas will either be 15 miles away to Ayr or Kilmarnock.

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A branch review document for Cumnock, released by Bank of Scotland, 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."

The bank said that it weighed up many factors before making its decision. 

This includes how customers choose to bank, how often customers use the branch and accessibility of public transport.

South Scotland MSP, Sharon Dowey, called the decision to close the bank "frustrating".

Cumnock Chronicle: MSP Sharon Dowey visited the branch alongside councillors Neill Watts and Alyson SimmonsMSP Sharon Dowey visited the branch alongside councillors Neill Watts and Alyson Simmons (Image: Councillor Neill Watts - Cumnock & New Cumnock)

Bank of Scotland has said that it has seen a 29 per cent decrease in personal customers using the Cumnock branch since 2018, and a 38 per cent decrease in business customers.

The information shows that there has been a 27 per cent increase in cash machine transactions over the five years, between January 2018 and 2023.

Despite this, Bank of Scotland plans to close the bank machine at the Cumnock branch, with the closest free-to-use machine located at Asda.

More than half of Cumnock branch customers are aged 55 and over, according to the data.

Bank of Scotland says that 73 per cent of customers have also used other Bank of Scotland branches, internet banking or telephone banking.

Data shows that 283 of customers used the branch regularly in 12 months to January 2023.

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The Link Group - a consortium of major UK high street banks -  said Cumnock had been chosen as one of the next locations for a 'community banking hub', in light of the closure of branches in the town.

The Bank of Scotland document added that, as part of the closure announcement, they plan to contact key members of the community and organisations to "help us further understand what the impact of the branch closure".

According to the information, this includes speaking to Allan Dorans MP for Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock, and Elena Whitham MSP.

Allan Dorans said he is against the planned closures.

The SNP representative said: "I have received notification from the Lloyds Banking Group informing me that they will be closing a further 17 Bank of Scotland Branches including those in Cumnock and Girvan. They propose to replace these with banking hubs in both towns by 2024.

"They also provided information on the reasons for the closures which indicated that the Cumnock branch has seen a decrease in customer usage of almost 30% since 2018 and that the decline in Girvan has been over 40%.

"I am opposed to these closures taking place.

"Along with other Members of Parliament whose constituencies are affected by these closures, I have written to the Bank of Scotland to request a formal meeting to discuss these closures and we are currently awaiting confirmation of this meeting taking place."

He added: "In addition, along with 15 other MPs I have submitted an Early Day Motion to Parliament calling upon the Secretary of State to work with the Scottish Government to prevent closures and protect communities access to banking services and cash.

"The closure of banks in these towns will adversely affect the elderly, people without access to the internet and small businesses who rely on banks for banking facilities, cash and coins and will result in the loss of staff from the branches affected.

"We need to do all we can to prevent these closures taking place."

MSP Elena Whitham has also been contacted for comment.