TSB has announced that it will shut more than half of its branches in Scotland.
A total of 300 jobs around the country will be affected, although the bank has said that most of these will be voluntary redundancies.
They currently operate 135 branches, with 73 of them set to be shut by the end of next year.
These plans form part of the bank’s three-year strategy it announced in November 2019.
The changes have been driven by a significant change in customer behaviour, including a reduction in the numbers using branches and more people using online banking.
Branches earmarked for closure have been selected to ensure 94% of TSB customers in Scotland still live within 20 minutes of a site.
A full list of these will be published later on today after staff are told.
164 branches will be shut across the UK and 900 jobs will go.
TSB will operate the third largest network in Scotland when the closures are complete and will have 20% of its national UK network based in the country compared to the industry average of 17%.
Each TSB branch will serve an average of 17,000 customers, which is in line with the industry average.
They will also introduce about 50 mobile advisors in some rural communities to deliver face-to-face support for customers.
Robin Bulloch, Customer Banking Director at TSB, said: “These decisions are the most difficult we take, but we must always be guided by our customers – and we are clearly witnessing a substantial shift towards digital banking.
“We operate a more extensive branch network than most other banks in Scotland, including some much larger than TSB, and we need to reduce its size to reflect the changing needs of our customers and a fast-evolving operational environment.
“TSB remains committed to offering high quality banking services in branches across Scotland. We are also introducing mobile advisers to ensure we look after vulnerable customers and those in rural locations.
“We are working to ensure the transition towards digital – which is being seen right across the economy – is handled sensitively and pragmatically for our colleagues and customers.”
Dominic Hook, Unite national officer, described TSB’s decision as a “dark day for the finance sector”.
He said: “Staff across TSB will be devastated by this news.
“Unite has urged the bank to rethink these plans and protect these much-needed jobs during the current health pandemic. Not only do these staff deserve more from their employer after showing the utmost loyalty to TSB, customers will be deeply hit by these branch closures.
“Unite has argued for some time that the financial services industry has a social responsibility not to walk away from its local customers who continue to need access to banking in bank branches. It beggars belief that just seven years ago TSB had 631 local branches and this announcement will reduce that number to merely 290 branches.
“Unite is supporting our members across the country as they absorb the news. The union is working with TSB to put into place every possible remedy to support the staff to avoid any compulsory redundancies, in finding suitable alternative employment and offering advice and support to assist colleagues.”
Age Scotland is “appalled” by the bank’s plans to close more than half the branches.
Brian Sloan, Chief Executive of Age Scotland: “We’re appalled by this latest round of closures, which will undoubtedly hit older and vulnerable customers hardest. The disappearance of almost half TSB’s Scottish branches will inevitably lead to banking deserts and make it harder for customers to manage their money.
“Those who rely on branches most tend to be older, disadvantaged, or on low incomes, and may not find it easy to travel to the next town to do their banking.
“The relentless push towards online or telephone banking may be convenient for many, but it doesn’t suit everyone. Almost half a million people over 60 don’t use the internet, with the highest numbers in the most deprived areas. By turning its back on them, TSB clearly seems to be putting its profits before its customers.
“Last year, TSB assured us that the reduction in opening hours at many Scottish branches would not be a prelude to closures. Unfortunately, that now looks like it is the case.”