THE Royal Bank of Scotland has been accused of "breaking yet another promise" after it announced it is halving the mobile service to Dufftown.
The Moray Rambler, as the bus is known, currently calls at the village for 75 minutes on both Mondays and Thursdays.
However, from May onwards, this will be cut to just Thursdays and possibly for as little as 60 minutes.
The decision has been criticised by both MSP Richard Lochhead and MP Douglas Ross, who have each written independently to the bank.
One annoyed customer from Dufftown said: "Who owns RBS? As taxpayers it’s us, yet you would never guess it by the way we are treated.
"A few years ago RBS promised it would not close any of its branches where they were the last bank in town – but that’s exactly what they went ahead and did in Dufftown.
"Then they set up the mobile service and promised things would not change too much – and now they are cutting that.
"The shops and businesses in the village have cash that they need to pay in on a regular basis. One visit a week is simply not often enough.
"The RBS advert on TV claims ‘we are with you every day’. If only that was true."
The Moray Rambler was launched in November 2015 after the bank closed several branches.
As well as Dufftown, the bus calls at Aberlour, Rothes, Hopeman, Burghead, Lhanbryde, Kinloss, Cullen and Portsoy once a week, plus Keith, Buckie, Lossiemouth and Forres twice.
A Royal Bank of Scotland spokesperson said: "Our mobile branch network of 21 mobile branches visits 440 communities across Scotland each week.
"We look to serve towns and villages that have lost a Royal Bank branch and need this service, but also to serve towns that have never had a Royal Bank branch. We regularly review our routes based on customer usage to ensure we’re making the right stops in the right locations.
"We have reviewed the mobile branch route that serves Dufftown and have reduced the service to once a week so that we can add in two additional stops in Banff and Huntly".
Mr Lochhead said he had written to Ross McEwan, the chief executive of RBS, calling on him to take action to protect the service. The MSP added: "Moray has been disproportionately hit by bank closures in recent years, and nowhere more so than Speyside where there is not a single bank branch left open.
"Taxpayers are the majority shareholders in RBS but time and time again the needs of our local communities and small businesses are ignored.
"RBS must urgently give people in Dufftown assurances that they will not lose out and that any plans to reduce the community’s mobile banking service will not go ahead."
Adding his voice to the criticism, Mr Ross said: "This is an unwarranted cut for the people of Dufftown and I have contacted RBS to stress that more services, not fewer, should be on offer.
"It’s bad enough that RBS has shut so many branches in our towns and villages in Moray, but to hear news that mobile services are also going to be cut is a step too far. Many people still prefer to rely on face-to-face contact for their banking needs.
"That is why I will do everything I can to get RBS to continue to offer an acceptable mobile banking service in Moray."