A THIRD of bank branches in East Renfrewshire were axed in the four years to 2018, a new report shows.

The decline in banking facilities has been revealed by one of Europe’s largest business lenders, which compiled statistics from across the country.

It shows that the 33 per cent reduction in East Renfrewshire was less severe than in Renfrewshire, which had a 40 per cent drop, but was considerably higher than areas such as North Ayrshire and West Dunbartonshire.

The report by IWOCA also showed that bank lending to small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in East Renfrewshire fell by 28 per cent, to £27million, during the same period.

Age Scotland said bank closures have left many customers without access to a valuable face-to-face service.

Brian Sloan, the charity’s chief executive, told the Barrhead News: “People over the age of 60 who do not use the internet are being left behind with the move to digital-by-default banking.

“Coupled with the considerable reduction of free-to-use cash machines, it is becoming harder and harder for older people to bank in the way that works for them.

“The alternative banking solutions such as the Post Office network only work for the most basic of needs and, for many older people who need face-to-face advice on scams, financial health checks and access to new products, they do not work at all.”

Age Scotland is calling for banks to consider sharing branches to bring their costs down while continuing to provide essential services. 

Mr Sloan added: “These banking hubs would exist with a number of banks operating under one roof, offering customers the face-to-face service so many need and want, as well as saving on building overheads.”

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