Earlier this week banking giant TSB announced another raft of closures across the north and north-east.
Four branches – Ellon, Forres, Fort William and Thurso – will shut their doors for the final time next April.
They are just four of 70 closures which will take place across the UK next year.
After the decision was announced, fears were raised about the possible impact on customers, particularly those who struggle to use digital services.
Communities across the north have already been hit hard by banks and Post Offices shutting
Here we explain what the closures mean for you.
Why is TSB closing branches?
Put simply, TSB says it’s closing the branches because not enough people are using them.
The company claims it has seen a “significant” reduction in use, to the point where there is “no prospect” of a return to pre-Covid-19 levels.
Bosses say 90% of transactions are now carried out online, and they plan to invest in TSB’s digital facilities.
When will they close?
All four closures will take place in April 2022.
Ellon will be the first to go on April 19, with Fort William the following day and Thurso on April 21.
The Forres branch will shut its doors on April 27.
Didn’t TSB just close loads of branches?
Yes they did.
This year a total of 17 TSB banks have already closed across the north-east and the Highlands.
Chief customer officer Robin Bulloch said it was an “incredibly difficult decision” to shut more branches.
However, he added the changes “allow us to maintain an extensive branch presence across the country”.
I use TSB. How will I do my banking?
Bosses have already indicated they will do the same again, with pop-ups to be set up in Thurso and Fort William.
They have also claimed they will not close any branch which is the last remaining bank in town, and say there are Post Offices or free ATMs within a mile of every closed bank.
What has the reaction been like?
MPs and MSPs from across the region have unsurprisingly blasted the decision.
SNP MSP Gillian Martin, whose Aberdeenshire East constituency includes Ellon, called on TSB to reverse the move.
Moray Conservative MP Douglas Ross said large parts of Scotland were now “akin to banking deserts”.
Meanwhile Age Scotland raised concerns that the closures will disproportionately affect older residents.
“This announcement suggests that TSB is putting profits ahead of serving customers,” said the organisation’s chief executive Brian Sloan.
“Thousands more across the north of Scotland will be left struggling to do their everyday banking, facing long or difficult journeys to their nearest branch.”
David Groundwater, the development manager for the Federation of Small Businesses in the north-east, said the closures would have a knock-on effect on the high street.
“Ultimately, these changes will make it more difficult to run a business in much of Scotland but they will also leave another ugly gap on a high streets and in our town centres,” he said.