North east Fife councillors are calling for the protection of local banking services as more branches face the axe.
Liberal Democrat members Margaret Kennedy and Bill Porteous want major banks to pool their resources and create banking hubs in communities where access to in-person banking has reduced.
Different banks sharing a space would reduce overheads while still giving people the option of speaking to staff face-to-face.
The move would particularly benefit vulnerable customers, those with unreliable broadband provision and small businesses or charities, the councillors said.
Ms Kennedy and Mr Porteous raised the issue after the TSB announced seven Fife branches will close in March, including Cupar and Anstruther.
It follows closure of the Clydesdale Bank and RBS in Cupar, and will leave the East Neuk without a bank.
Ms Kennedy said the industry must explore new ways of working to ensure the retention of in-person services.
“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,” she said.
“I’ve been campaigning for banks to change their way of thinking for some time now.
“I’m continuing to call for a kind of banking hub or marketplace where different banks can share a space to offer a face-to-face service that doesn’t involve expensive overheads, yet maintains an important option for those who need some extra help, or just want to do their banking with a real person without the anxiety or hassle of having to travel a considerable distance.”
Mr Porteous said the idea would also provide a private space to discuss personal business.
“Local post offices are not suitable in many cases for confidential matters,” he said.
The councillors are working with North East Fife MP Wendy Chamberlain, who has already discussed the issue with some banks.
She said losing local branches was a major blow to those who rely on in-person banking.
“Our local economies deserve busy high streets and face-to-face reliable banking,” she said.
“That’s why setting up banking hubs where banks could pool resources and split their overhead costs to ensure at least one shop can stay open is a good and innovative solution to the programme of closures we’ve seen in recent years.
“I’m working proactively with our local councillors and banks in order to see that this becomes a reality in future.”
The TSB said its latest round of closures follows a marked shift towards digital banking.
Chief executive Debbie Crosbie said: “We are reshaping our business to transform the customer experience and set us up for the future.”
RBS previously said it did not make sense to keep branches in areas where less than 1% of customers visited at least once a week.
It said customers can still perform some tasks at mobile banks, post offices and cash machines