CLACKMANNANSHIRE is set to suffer with this week’s announcements that banks in Alloa and Alva are to shut.

On Wednesday Lloyd’s Banking Group announced that it will close 49 branches, including 11 in Scotland.

A total of 99 jobs will be lost in the closures of Bank of Scotland, Lloyds and Halifax branches.

This included the Bank of Scotland branch in Alva, leaving many people in the Hillfoots without a bank in close proximity.

This news has been swiftly followed by an announcement by Royal Bank of Scotland that it will be shutting 259 branches and cutting 680 jobs.

Affected in the Wee County is the Alloa High Street branch, again leaving Clacks residents without a bank with some even having to travel to Stirling just to deposit funds.

Luke Graham, MP for Ochil and South Perthshire expressed his deep regret at the closures.

He said: "I’m extremely disappointed by these branch closures announcements.

Only last week we secured significant investment into Ochil and South Perthshire through the Stirling and Clackmannanshire Cities Deal; the Royal Bank of Scotland is pulling out of the area at the worst possible time.

"This is especially a slap in the face for Clackmannanshire, particularly with the economy secretary as our local MSP.

"It is so disappointing that the Royal Bank of Scotland, a publicly owned bank, is taking away public service, and I will be fighting tooth and nail against these closures."

Keith Brown MSP said:  “The announcements from the Bank of Scotland and the Royal Bank of Scotland are a blow to Clackmannanshire and further reduce the availability of banking services for local people and businesses.

“It is imperative that both banks consider those customers who do not have access to phone or online banking or will find it difficult to travel to another branch - many of whom are elderly or on a low income.

“I have contacted the banks to express my concerns about these decisions and will make the case to retain these vital local services wherever possible.”

Paul Wheelhouse, Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, said: "The news of further branch closures from RBS will be hugely concerning to many people in Scotland as it now not only affects, potentially, staff at RBS but also leaves large areas of Scotland, particularly rural areas, with limited branch coverage.

"While recognising that footfall in branches is falling, due to online banking, RBS, and other banks, must take into account the needs of all customers - not just those who can access and use digital services."

Alexander Stewart MSP said: “It is an absolute travesty that whilst we are seeing so much progress in Clackmannanshire; with the imminent City Deal for example, as well as the many positive things we are achieving for the residents of the Wee County that the RBS has chosen to turn its back on the community in this way.

“These branches in Alloa and Alva are seen as a lifeline by the residents and indeed, many of the constituents are elderly who have no access or knowledge of on-line banking and who look forward to their regular visits for the important social aspect of community life and for the interaction with the well-known Local staff.

“Local small business also need and look to their branches along the road for vitally important cash flow, quick deposits of cash and indeed change for tills.

“It is not in the nature of many small business models or structures to rely on the internet; these small shops & businesses must have access to cash facilities as well as the much-needed relationship with and support from their adjacent bank managers and advisors, especially during the winter.

The Unite union has strongly criticised the closure plans.

National officer Rob MacGregor said: "Lloyds Banking Group needs to halt this unnecessary bank branch closure programme.

"Local communities are making it clear that the closure of their local branch excludes customers who cannot use digital means to conduct their financial transactions.

"Having returned to profitability Lloyds needs to stop ignoring its corporate social responsibilities."