MPs have urged the UK Government to seek a commitment from banks that they will not leave towns without any branches.
In a new report, Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee recommends introducing legislation if banks refuse to provide such a guarantee.
The committee has been holding an inquiry into access to financial services in Scotland and has previously issued warnings over the number of branch closures.
It is estimated in the last eight years, Scotland has lost around a third – 610 – of its total number of bank branches across the country.
MPs suggest Scotland has suffered proportionally more bank closures than in the rest of the UK – with some towns being left with no branch at all.
Further recommendations made in the report include strengthening the regulation of bank branch closures, with public consultation ahead of any shutdown and publication of impact assessments for vulnerable groups.
It also focuses on preventing further loss of ATMs and suggests a strategy should be put in place by the UK Government on access to cash.
Committee chair, Pete Wishart MP, said: “It is disgraceful that banks think they can abandon Scottish towns with no access to essential financial services.
“Last year, my committee demanded that RBS halt their march of bank branch closures, but since then the picture seems to have just deteriorated further – in 2018 in Scotland, 355 ATMs were shut down, and bank branches continue to close at an alarming rate.
“Scottish communities are becoming ‘cash free’ against their will and it is time the Government stepped in to intervene.
“My committee is calling on the Government to stop banks from closing the last remaining bank branch in town.
“It is essential that towns are left with at least one bank, so if the banks won’t make this commitment themselves, the Government should consider legislating.”