Politicians are hoping to persuade banking bosses to commit to ensuring a mobile branch of the Bank of Scotland visits Kinross once every week after the High Street branch is closed for good next year.
Lloyds Banking Group announced plans to shut 56 BoS branches across the UK in January this year and said at the time its branches in Kinross and Auchterarder would shut on August 9 and August 27 respectively.
Bosses then decided to grant the Kinross branch a stay of execution after the coronavirus swept through the country a couple of months later, but it is understood they still intend to close the bank sometime in February next year.
Now politicians are seeking assurances from BoS they will ensure a mobile branch visits the town at least once a week amid concern the upcoming closure of the High Street branch will severely limit locals’ access to services.
Kinross-shire councillor Callum Purves and Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Liz Smith had a virtual meeting with a representative of BoS last month, during which they highlighted some of the difficulties the closure will cause locals and particularly people living in more rural areas of Kinross-shire.
Councillor Purves told the PA people living in places like Fossoway and Powmill without their own transportation could end up having to spend a whole day travelling on buses just to get to a bank and back if they needed to discuss complicated matters with a member of staff.
He said: “Public transport in parts of rural Kinross-shire is not great.
“If people have to get a bus from Crook of Devon to Kinross to get to a bank that could take hours. And if the bank is not there that day and people have to then wait for a connection to Perth, it could take them a whole day just to do their banking."
Liz Smith MSP remarked after the meeting: “The engagement from BoS must urgently continue in the coming weeks and months in order to find a solution for customers in Kinross.
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“We must see the bank commit to providing mobile facilities each week in Kinross and they must advertise this as widely as possible.
“In a worst case scenario, the bank must offer to provide community travel to those customers who would be forced to travel to Perth.
“I will be continuing to fight for the best possible banking access for Kinross customers on their doorstep.”
A spokesperson for BoS said: “We always engage with community leaders when making the difficult decision to close a branch and valued the opportunity to do so regarding the Kinross branch.
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“We will be introducing a new mobile branch in Kinross, which will provide a personal, face to face service, giving customers access to everyday banking.
“Customers will also be able to continue to apply for and manage their products over the phone and through online and mobile banking.
“Video banking is available if preferred for assistance with complex matters, including mortgages, and all aspects of the homebuying process.”