An East End community is in ‘despair’ over the upcoming closure of a local bank.

Lloyds Banking Group previously announced it intends to close the Bank of Scotland branch on Riddrie’s Smithycroft Road on August 9.

Local resident Alexis McQuade is worried that the closure will have a knock-on effect on older people in the community, in terms of how they will access a bank.

She said: “Riddrie has a large elderly population that now has no local bank or Post Office services. The nearest bank now is at Parkhead Forge which is a bus journey away. 

“This bus service is every half an hour if it turns up and there is still a walk to and from the bus stops, which is dangerous as they are leaving the premises with large amounts of money, and many have poor mobility.

“The Bank of Scotland should not close this branch as it is a necessity and it is a very busy branch.”

Glasgow Times: Mohammed RamzanMohammed Ramzan

Local business owner Mohammed Ramzan explained that Smithycroft is an area which is “home to a plethora of businesses, families, and more specifically, a vast elderly population – all who use this bank regularly and with great pride”.

READ MORE: Bank of Scotland branch to close in Glasgow's Riddrie

He added: “The bank attracts an influx of people to this area on a daily basis and this has proved to be fundamental in stimulating the small yet thriving community.”

He agrees with Ms McQuade that this closure will significantly affect the elderly residents.

He said: “They will also suffer as this bank was within walking distance for a lot of the community.”

Lloyds Banking Group plan to close 60 branches across the UK, saying that customers were continuing to choose online and mobile banking over visiting a branch in person.

The financial institution saw a 27% rise in use of its mobile banking app over the last two years, and a 12% rise in regular users of its online banking system.

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“Just like many other high street businesses, fewer customers are choosing to visit our branches,” the business’ group retail director Vim Maru said.

“Our branch network is an important way for us to support our customers, but we need to adapt to the significant growth in customers choosing to do most of their everyday banking online.”

Mr Ramzan, who runs the shop next door to the branch, has written a letter on behalf of the community to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Anas Sarwar MSP and David Linden MP, expressing his concerns.

He said: “We understand that online banking is at its peak and is encouraged, but the reality is that the elderly, disabled and many others simply cannot adapt to it and interaction at the local branch [is] crucial for people to meet their financial needs.”

Mr Ramzan is also concerned about what the closure will mean for local businesses if trade continues to fall, as he has already seen a loss from the closure of the Post Office.

He said: “The bank served as a hub for many folks from different socio-economic areas to congregate.

“In addition to this, many of the businesses around are family-run and have been so for many years.

“Passers-by and local tourism will decline which will affect local businesses and the area is likely to face worse economic conditions as the area will lose one of its main attractions.”

Glasgow Times:

Overall, Mr Ramzan feels that this effect on both the locals and businesses will therefore have a ripple effect on the whole community.

He added: “This trip to the bank gave our community a reason to come out, complete important tasks and visit the shops nearby whilst being able to have a chat with locals.

“This alone created a friendly and tight-knit environment in Riddrie and was the reason behind the welcoming atmosphere of our community.

“Closing this branch will not only take that away but also put the locals’ mental health at risk as their reasons for going out into the community and human interaction will be taken away as well.

“This branch has been the glue of our community for years.”

Mr Ramzan also hopes for a public assessment to establish a fuller understanding of the “damage that this closure will cause”.

The issue has attracted some local political interest, as Labour campaigner Ann Jenkins has been made aware of the community’s fears and has had residents reach out to her.

Glasgow Times: Notice outside Bank of Scotland in RiddrieNotice outside Bank of Scotland in Riddrie

She said: “I have been contacted by several residents about the closure of this Bank of Scotland. 

“It is a predominantly elderly population, and the Post Office has already closed.”

READ MORE: Glasgow North East MP hits out after Bank of Scotland Riddrie closure news

Glasgow North East SNP MP Anne McLaughlin also criticised the plans and accused the group of 'abandoning communities most in need of their services’.

She said: "This branch serves a community with a high percentage of elderly people with no access to online banking and the removal of this will be a devastating blow to the area.”

Gartcraig Community Council released a statement in concern for the elderly community and added that there could be an increased risk of vulnerable people being subjected to online scams.

The statement read: “Members of the community will be disheartened that Bank of Scotland is closing the Riddrie branch, the last high street bank within our local area.”

The community council stated that those who can least afford to travel or access the internet will face a hurdle to access banking support.

They added: “There is deep concern that as mainstream banks abandon communities, they leave behind vulnerable people far easier to exploit by scammers and predatory financial bodies.”