Bank bosses are being urged to think more creatively about how they provide services to communities in light of the announcment that 15 TSB branches are being axed across Tayside and Fife.
Fife councillor Margaret Kennedy said she was concerned about people who still rely on being able to visit a local branch in person – including those who have unreliable broadband provision; and those who run small businesses or charities requiring coin banking.
She represents Cupar, which is on the TSB list and has already seen the Clydesdale Bank and RBS branches close, and a reduced counter service at the Bank of Scotland.
Ms Kennedy has called for an exploration of new ways of working, such as the creation of a banking ‘hub’ where different banks can share premises in certain towns and villages.
“While I appreciate that many banking services have moved online, local businesses still depend on face-to-face banking, and I’m particularly concerned about the impact of the closure on the elderly and vulnerable in our community,” the Liberal Democrat councillor said.
“Their continued promotion and delivery of a traditional model of banking is simply not sustainable in current times. They need to adopt an innovative approach to adapt to society’s needs.”
She said the hub model would allow banks to share a space and offer a face-to-face service with less expensive overheads.
TSB is pressing ahead with its plans to close seven of its Fife branches between now and April 2021.
They are in Rosyth, Burntisland, Cupar, Cowdenbeath, Buckhaven, Kirkcaldy (Templehall) and Anstruther.
Dundee branches in Craigiebank and Lochee are also on the list as are Carnoustie and Montrose in Angus.
In Perthshire, four branches are set to close – Coupar Angus, Blairgowrie, Pitlochry and Crieff.
The bank says the closures have been accelerated by the pandemic, and said branches with the least custom have been chosen to go.
Spokeswoman Debbie Crosbie said: “Our customers are banking differently – with a marked shift to digital banking.
“This means having the right balance between branches on the high street and our digital platforms, enabling us to offer the very best experience for our personal and business customers across the UK.”