Mobile banking services will return to rural communities, operators have vowed – but only when safe to do so.
The Bank of Scotland is already phasing its van back into some towns and villages, but the Royal Bank of Scotland has said it is waiting further government guidance.
Mobile facilities were closed at the start of lockdown due to the difficulties in ensuring social distancing was maintained and mounting fears about staff passing through multiple communities and potentially putting themselves – and customers – at risk.
Moray MSP Richard Lochhead has called for clarity on when rural communities will be able to bank locally, highlighting it was of particular concern to older customers.
In a letter to RBS, Mr Lochhead said: “Access to banking services is vital for local businesses and residents, particularly those who are unable to use online banking and no longer have a branch in their community.
“I understand that the decision to withdraw mobile banking services when we went into lockdown was taken to protect customers and staff, and I think everyone would agree that was the right thing to do.
“But as businesses are now starting to reopen, and restrictions are being lifted, many constituents are keen to get clarity on when banking services will return to their community.
“Bank services are essential and it is vital that people in our rural communities are able to access these services again as soon as possible.”
RBS said its mobile fleet would remain paused until it was granted government approval to resume. It encouraged customers to instead use their mobile, online and telephone services.
A Bank of Scotland spokeswoman, meanwhile, said a “limited” number of mobile branches were back out on the road and that the timetable was available on the bank’s website or by calling 0345 601 6943.
In Moray, the van will be in the car park at Keith’s Tesco car park on Wednesdays from 10.45am-12.45pm and Lossiemouth Harbour from 10.30am-1.30pm on Fridays.
Further north, the Inverness Longman service will run fortnightly, visiting Fortrose Medical Practice on Mondays, Kingussie Duke of Gordon Hotel on Tuesdays and Priory Hotel, Beauly on Wednesdays.
The Tain service will visit Bonar Bridge Community Hall on Tuesdays, opposite the Bridge Hotel in Helmsdale on Wednesdays, Main Street, Lairg on Thursdays and Dornoch Retail Park on Fridays.
Services have not yet resumed in Aberdeenshire.