A north-east community has been told that mobile banking would not be “cost effective” as Clydesdale Bank prepares to close branches across the region.
The company announced earlier this year controversial plans to shut down outlets in Fraserburgh, Banff and Mintlaw by the summer.
The move will leave customers who rely on the bank for services with no alternative but to travel to an alternative branch in neighbouring towns or to learn how to use internet banking.
However, a Mintlaw MSP has now raised fears that the latter will be a difficult adjustment for the elderly and vulnerable living in the most remote areas of Aberdeenshire.
Gillian Martin, alongside local councillor Jim Ingram, has written to Clydesdale to suggest a mobile banking alternative is offered to the community to replace the existing branches.
A similar initiative is in place in New Pitsligo, where the Bank of Scotland sends a van to the village to allow customers to deposit and withdraw cash every Monday and Thursday.
But, in their reply, Clydesdale Bank responded such a service for Mintlaw would not be “cost effective”.
In a letter, the firm said it believed the service would “add little to the options available to customers”.
The letter added the great majority of transactions completed in a mobile branch matched “those available” at the Post Office, to where existing customers are being directed.
Last night, Ms Martin, a member of the Scottish Parliament’s economy, jobs and fair work committee, described the decision as a “blow” for Mintlaw.
She added: “I know many local businesses across the region who rely on being able to access banking each day.
“It is disappointing to hear that the firm won’t even consider offering an alternative to ease the loss of the bank.
“It will not only be businesses that are affected, but the most vulnerable in the community, who may not have access to the internet or who may need assistance to do their banking transactions.”
Mr Ingram suggested he did not know why the bank had ruled out the option completely.
He said: “I know mobile units can work successfully in rural areas and I cannot see why they wouldn’t work here.
“I would hope the bank would at least leave an ATM which people can still use and I would urge them to rethink their decision.”