A Dunkeld accountancy firm has launched an online banking hub in rural Perthshire to combat the closure of traditional banks in towns and villages.
Johann Goree, director of JGBC accountancy firm, set up the new hub after being forced to travel more than 30 miles to complete simple transactions.
Mr Goree, who advises small and micro businesses on their finances, said the lack of banks in rural Perthshire is causing companies problems due to strict controls on business accounts.
Together with other financial organisations in Dunkeld, the accountancy firm created The Financial Hub earlier this month.
The hub sees companies like JGBC advising their clients on financial matters while they also set up business accounts with online banking companies.
Johann said the group created the hub as a “community service”.
Johann said: “The feedback and the feeling behind us launching this service has been really positive in this area and a lot of people will be using it moving forward.
“It’s getting the word out there that you don’t have to sit and moan about the banks closing down – some businesses can step up and fill that void.
“We’ve come together as a group of businesses to put this out there as a community service.
“This is us giving back to the community and trying to fill the void the corporate banks have left.”
The Financial Hub runs weekly drop-in surgeries every Monday from 10am to 1pm in the Dunkeld and Birnam Community Workspace where people can come in and discuss the services it provides.
As well as the accountancy firm, The Financial Hub also includes an insurance broker, mortgage adviser, financial adviser and chartered financial planner and a merchant services adviser.
Johann believes the local online banking hubs is the future for rural communities.
He set up an online business account himself through a company called Tide after getting frustrated with the lack of options available to him in Dunkeld.
He said: “For instance, I’m moving address on my business bank account so I’m having to travel a 32-mile round trip to make a five-minute change of address.
“If I do need to meet my business manager it can take up to two to three weeks for a meeting.
“Banks are retreating from rural areas and concentrating on city centres and towns but businesses in rural areas are vital to our economy.”
In 2017 RBS announced it was shutting its branches in Pitlochry, Aberfeldy and Comrie and in April this year TSB said they were slashing their hours in Blairgowrie, Coupar Angus, Pitlochry and Aberfeldy.