Campaigners took to the streets yesterday in the ongoing battle to save the last bank in Speyside from closure.
Clydesdale Bank has announced its branch in Aberlour will shut in May – with the company blaming a sharp reduction in customers.
But residents in Moray fear the move will impact on trade in the region with Speyside customers now facing a round trip to Keith or Elgin to deposit cash.
An online petition has already gathered nearly 600 names after being established this week.
Moray MP Angus Robertson joined the concerned locals in Aberlour to rally support for the branch.
He said: “This is the last high street bank in Speyside, which covers an area from Tomintoul to Dufftown and Rothes, and many other villages in between.
“For residents, reliant on public transport, it could mean a round trip of a full day using six buses to reach Keith, where the accounts are to be transferred to.
“I’m urging the bank to reverse this decision, which will be damaging to local businesses and cause havoc for residents.”
As part of the cost-saving plans, which will see 40 branches being axed, Clydesdale announced it would also be closing its Buckie base.
The closures are due to be discussed as an emergency item of business at Moray Council’s economic development committee on Tuesday.
Councillors from Speyside and Buckie are calling on the authority to write to the firm to spell out their likely impact.
Clydesdale Bank has insisted the closures will mean better service for customers and jobs would be offered to employees where possible.
Rothes resident, Louise Laing, who has organised the petition, believes the region’s reliance on visitors means it is essential banking facilities remain open.
She said: “To lose the last high street bank in the whole area would be an absolute travesty. We’re an area with a large number of tourists, which makes access to cash services and over-the-counter services really important.
“This is a short-sighted decision by the Clydesdale Bank, but we are not prepared to take it lying down in Speyside.
“I set up a petition online, which has already got hundreds of signatures, and the support in Aberlour was fantastic.
“People feel very strongly about this issue. And we will fight it tooth and nail.”