A bank branch in Aberdeen city centre is facing the axe as part of a fresh wave of closures announced yesterday by Santander.
The outlet on George Street is due to shut in November after it was named among 140 sites earmarked for closure across the UK.
Other affected branches in Scotland include Bathgate, Brechin, Forfar, Helensburgh, Kirkcaldy, St Andrews and two in both Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Branch closures have sparked uproar in recent years, with the five biggest banks in Scotland having already axed 500 sites since 2010, close to half the total.
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Last night, Aberdeen Central MSP Kevin Stewart said: “We all know how vital bank branches are to the communities they serve and so it is always deeply concerning to learn of new closures.
“All too often banks close branches with no thought for the many people who rely on a face-to-face service. These people are often older folk as well as local businesses.
“This will come as a shock to folk in Aberdeen who depend on this branch and so I will make contact with Santander to urge a re-think on this matter.”
Santander said it was consulting with unions and will seek to find alternative roles for 1,270 employees affected by the closures. The bank said it expects to redeploy about a third across the group.
It insisted the branches involved include those that are not visited frequently and are in close proximity to another branch.
There are another two Santander branches in Aberdeen city centre.
Following the closures by the end of the year, Santander will retain a network of 614 branches with its customers also having the option to bank using the more than 11,000 Post Office sites across the UK.
Susan Allen, head of retail and business banking at Santander, said: “The way our customers are choosing to bank with us has changed dramatically in recent years, with more and more customers using online and mobile channels.
“As a result, we have had to take some very difficult decisions over our less visited branches and those where we have other branches in close proximity.”
She added that the bank expects the size of its branch network to thereafter “remain stable for the foreseeable future”.
North East Conservative MSP Liam Kerr added: “I am saddened and disappointed by the notice that Santander are closing their George St branch in Aberdeen.
“This has come as a total surprise to the community.
“These are all busy branches which encourage people into town centres and contribute massively to the High Street.
“Yes, people are banking online as well as in their branches, but surely a closer relationship with finances and spending should be encouraged.
“I am in contact with the bank’s local management to see how this will affect staff.
“I have told them it is letting customers down.”
Kirsty Blackman, MP for Aberdeen North, said: “Branch closures can have a big impact on a community, particularly for the people who work there and get to know the customers and area so well.
“I am urging Santander to reconsider closing the George Street branch and I am seeking reassurances for staff affected that a plan will be put in place to avoid job losses.
“The branch itself is a stone’s throw from my office so I know it well and have seen for myself how busy it can be and how well used it is.
“We may live in a digital age but a lot of us still need to use our local banks on a regular basis, and mounting closures are making it harder for customers to access services.”