TSB will close 17 bank branches in Scotland next year as part of a £100m cost-cutting exercise.
The move follows the bank’s April announcement that 71 of its Scottish branches would only open for two or three days a week.
In March this year, a Which? report concluded that 610 banks and building societies closed in Scotland between 2010 and 2018, with the total number dropping from 1,625 to 1,015.
SGF reacted angrily to news of the latest closures. It said the problems caused by bank closures in general came at a time when the cumulative cost burden on businesses was rapidly increasing.
Pete Cheema, SGF Chief Executive, commented: “This current trend in bank closures and the loss of the last bank in town continues to have a devastating impact on business communities and their customers just at a time when they need these services the most. Access to banking is a basic requirement of a functioning economy.”
With “cash still king” in the Scottish convenience sector, Cheema said access to banking services was crucial.
“Retailers are however now having to travel for cash banking which incurs extra staffing, travel and insurance costs,” he said. “Add to this the continuing decline in the number of free-to-use ATMs and you could say in the UK we are seeing a ‘war on cash’.”
SGF will continue to urge both Holyrood and Westminster to intervene “in recognition of the fact that banking services are of vital importance in terms of growing Scotland’s economy”.