It has been announced that the Johnstone and Renfrew branches of TSB Bank are to close next year.

TSB confirmed that 73 branches in Scotland will close and they will cut approximately 300 jobs as part of wider UK cuts across the bank.

Paisley High Street will be the only branch left in Renfrewshire.

The MSP that covers Johnstone, Tom Arthur, has hit out at the closure and confirmed he will be contacting the bank for clarification, he said: “I am extremely disappointed by today’s announcement by TSB to close their branch in Johnstone. This is another blow for the availability of local banking services and the communities and local businesses that rely on them, particularly the most vulnerable who may not use, or have access to, online services

“I understand that TSB are closing 164 branches across the UK, including reducing branch numbers in Scotland from 135 to 64.

“I have written to Robin Bulloch, Customer Banking Director and Executive Lead for Scotland to express my concerns and seek clarification on how TSB intend to support branch staff, customers and local businesses.”

Mhairi Black, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South, who covers the Johnstone branch echoed Tom’s comments, she added: “I will join my colleague Tom Arthur MSP and write to TSB regarding this proposed closure. This is disappointing news, we have seen over half of Renfrewshire’s local bank branches cease to exist in the last decade.

“This impacts our elderly and vulnerable communities as well as those in rural areas and our villages who have to travel for miles to access a bank.”

Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, which covers Renfrew, said: “Absolutely shocking news today as the TSB – the bank that used to say yes – now say no to banking in Renfrew and plan to close their branch here.

“We know more than most the impact bank closures can have on local communities, with Renfrew alone losing Santander, RBS, and Clydesdale in recent years and the Bank of Scotland being downgraded.

“I’ll be writing to the Chief Executive of TSB asking for an urgent meeting to discuss their plans and the impact they’ll have on my constituency and our community.

He added: “If our local businesses are to rebuild for the future they need access to local banking facilities and the continued attacks on branch networks by the big banks are a major obstacle in that rebuilding process. We already have a major issue in Renfrewshire with access to cash and pay to use ATMs. Shuttering another branch will make these problems worse and once again disproportionately affect the poorest and most vulnerable in our community.

“It’s time the UK Government used its powers to bring the big banks to heel and remind them of their responsibilities to local communities, to the people who bailed them out, and to the wider economy as we try to meet the biggest economic challenge since the war.”

Robin Bulloch, TSB customer banking director, said: “These decisions are the most difficult we take, but we must always be guided by our customers – and we are clearly witnessing a substantial shift towards digital banking.

“We operate a more extensive branch network than most other banks in Scotland, including some much larger than TSB, and we need to reduce its size to reflect the changing needs of our customers.”

Main Photo: The Johnstone TSB branch