BUSINESS leaders have criticised plans by the TSB to shut four branches and cut hours in a further 72.

The Federation of Small Businesses said the closures, including two in Edinburgh, one in Keith and one in Aberdeen, will hit communities.

Andrew McRae, FSB’s Scotland policy chair, said: “This looks like TSB is reducing opening hours in branches up and down Scotland before closing their doors for good.

“In scores of communities these changes will reduce local footfall, hurting the vibrancy of many of our high streets.

“It will make it more difficult to run a business, especially if you operate in our cash-dependent retail and hospitality industries.”

READ MORE: TSB shuts four Scottish branches and cuts opening hours

Carol Anderson, TSB’s Scotland branch distribution director, said the bank had “taken the very difficult decision to close four branches”.

“Customers are changing the way they interact with us and over the past few years we have seen the usage of branches continue to fall, with many customers in these locations increasingly using alternative TSB branches, online, mobile or telephone banking to access TSB banking services.”

Reducing the hours in 72 branches will “keep them commercially viable”, the bank said.