SANTANDER has announced that its Helensburgh branch in West Princes Street - the only remaining outlet of the bank in Argyll and Bute - will close in just three months.

The news was revealed following what the bank described as an “extensive consideration and a comprehensive internal review,” which will see a reshape of its branch network and 140 closures throughout the UK.

It is a further blow to facilities across Helensburgh and Lomond, which has suffered a considerable number of high-street bank shutdowns in recent times.

Helensburgh and Lomond MP Brendan O’Hara said he is “hugely disappointed” and has sought clarification from Santander over the decision to close the doors of his local branch on April 25.

He said: “I have this morning written to Santander to express my dismay at this latest closure.

“I am not aware of any public or customer consultation to assess the impact of this closure.

“It appears yet another bank is ditching the high street and shifting transactions to the Post Office. Whilst I fully support the Post Office network as vital, I cannot see how this will satisfy the demands of the many customers of Santander in and around both Helensburgh and Lomond but also wider Argyll and Bute.

“I am also seeking a full impact assessment or information on what steps have been taken by Santander to prevent any negative impact on the town.

“Once again we are seeing the public suffer, having bailed out the banks during the last crash, it seems the public are the last thought these organisations give in their business planning.”

Santander said they understand the move will be disappointing to the local community, but added that it is merely a sign of the times as more people shift to online and mobile banking.

Susan Allen, head of retail and business banking, said: “The way our customers are choosing to bank with us has changed dramatically in recent years.

“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.

“We will support customers of closing branches to find alternative ways to bank with us that best suit their individual needs. We are also working alongside our unions to support colleagues through these changes and to find alternative roles for those impacted wherever possible.

“We continue to believe that branches have a vital role to play and we will be refurbishing 100 of our branches over the next two years. We are confident that following these changes we will have the right branch network to serve our customers’ changing needs, and we expect the size of our network to remain stable for the foreseeable future.”

Santander said they are writing to all customers at the Helensburgh branch to advise them of the closure.