A petition has been launched in a Moray town in an attempt to persuade bank bosses to reverse a controversial decision to axe its local branch.
The Bank of Scotland has announced that it will close its premises in Keith in May – citing dwindling footfall as the main reason.
However, campaigners have now started gathering support for the branch in an attempt to keep the doors open.
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Dozens of residents have now declared their backing on a petition which will be sent to the management of Lloyds Banking Group, which owns the firm.
Keith and Cullen councillor, Theresa Coull, said: “Being in a rural area means that it can be difficult to get around on public transport.
“I don’t think the full effects have been considered over the wider area.
“There used to be five banks in Keith. If this one goes then we would be down to just two. A decline like this can be devastating for a town and the businesses and charities that rely on these services.”
Moray MSP, Richard Lochhead, has urged Bank of Scotland to follow the Royal Bank of Scotland’s lead by postponing closures.
In February, RBS vowed to keep 10 branches that had been slated to shut in order for an independent review to determine whether they could have a long-term future.
Mr Lochhead said: “There should be a full consultation with the local community about this. We’ve seen instances elsewhere where this has already been done.
“Moray has been one of the hardest hit areas with bank closures in recent years – there’s a stronger case for proper dialogue to happen here than anywhere else in the country.”
Bank of Scotland has insisted that Post Office facilities near the Keith branch and a new mobile service will ensure that customers will still be able to do their banking easily.
Customers of the former branch in Cullen were advised to use the Keith site instead when the chain pulled out of the town nearly two years ago.
Now residents on the coast have been told to travel even further to Buckie, Banff or Huntly to keep using their accounts.
Petition sheets have been left at various shops and eateries in Keith for residents to sign.