Nicola Sturgeon has urged banks to pay “very close attention” to the need for rural communities to access cash, following news of TSB branch closures in the north and north east.
The first minister said she was involved in discussions with banks about the importance of servicing remote and deprived areas following this week’s announcement.
Asked at her daily briefing about the impact the closures would have on an economy already suffering as a result of the coronavirus, Ms Sturgeon said: “I think there are always concerns around bank closures, particularly around rural communities where access to cash and financial services is particularly important.
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“We encourage banks to pay very close attention to that need for access in more rural communities or more deprived communities and to be very careful about these decisions.
“We have ongoing discussions with banks and financial services sector generally – not least through the Financial Services Advisory Board, which I co-chair – and we make our views very clear.
“We understand the changing pattern of how people access these services, which banks have to reflect, but we also always make the point about the importance of local access.”
Company plans hundreds of job losses
TSB’s plans to reduce its Scottish footprint by more than half by the end of next year will result in Aberdeen losing seven banks.
The Spanish-owned chain currently has 37 branches in the north and north-east; with two – in Insch and Grantown – never to open their doors again.
In Aberdeen, communities in Bucksburn, Culter, Dyce, Kincorth, Mannofield, St Machar and Torry will lose their local branch.
Across Aberdeenshire, TSB wants to ends its permanent presence in Aboyne, Alford, Banchory, Huntly and Turriff too.
In the Highlands, branches in Dingwall, Nairn and Wick have all been earmarked for closure as well.
The high street brand plans 73 closures across Scotland – resulting in 300 job losses overall – by the end of 2021.