SANTANDER says it will "work hard" to redeploy its workers in Helensburgh when the company closes its branch in the town later this year.

Seven members of staff in the Helensburgh branch will be affected by the plan to shut the town centre facility, on the corner of Sinclair Street and West Princes Street, in April.

The branch – Santander's last in Argyll and Bute – is one of 140 set to be closed because of what the company calls "changing patterns in customers' behaviour", with Helensburgh customers facing the prospect of a round trip of more than 40 miles to speak to staff face to face at the next nearest branch in Glasgow.

READ MORE: Anger as Santander announces closure of Helensburgh branch.

Helensburgh MSP Jackie Baillie said she was deeply disappointed to hear the news of the closure.

She said: "This ill thought out decision will leave many of my constituents without a local branch to use, resulting in many needing to travel upwards of a 40 mile round trip in order to go to a Santander branch in Glasgow just so that they can speak to someone face to face.

"For many, this journey is impossible due to a lack of transport and mobility issues.

"I would urge the bank to reconsider their plans or local people may simply switch where they do their banking.”

The bank says the last day of business for its Helensburgh branch will be April 25, but that customers will be able to carry out Santander transactions over the counter after that date by using the Post Office.

A spokesperson for Santander said: "In line with our commitment to the Access to Banking Standard, where we do take the difficult decision to close a branch, we notify customers in advance and notify local community representatives.

"Under the standard, we communicate our decisions to customers in two parts.

"The first announcement takes place at least 12 weeks before the closure date and is accompanied by an impact assessment. At this time we welcome feedback from customers that have concerns over the closure.

"At least two weeks before the closure date we will publish a second impact assessment which outlines any concerns that have been raised by customers and advice on these."

The spokesperson added: "We will work hard to redeploy colleagues to find alternative roles within reasonable travel distance of their home wherever possible."

The company spokesperson said all the Helensburgh staff were told of the closure plan before it was made public on January 23, and added: "Any customers that have concerns over this closure should contact us so that we may ensure they are fully supported during this process."

READ MORE: Santander should rethink Helensburgh branch closure, says Green MSP

Pressed on whether or not the company might reconsider closing down the branch in the wake of customers' reaction, the spokesperson said: "Our closure decisions are never taken lightly and follow a thorough examination of a wide range of factors including local trends in customer behaviour, branch and digital channel usage, and alternative ways for local customers to bank with us."

After the Advertiser broke the news on Facebook, Helensburgh and Lomond residents were far from happy, with many threatening to take their business elsewhere.

Kirsty McCulloch Hill said: "What an absolute joke, the only one in Argyll and Bute and they choose to close it!

"I could understand if many people didn’t use the services and if the branch was always quiet, but it’s not.

"I know many people that use this for business and personal banking. It’s just crazy, another way to cut costs at the expense of the customer.

"What about the elderly folk that don’t use or have access to internet banking? So disappointing."

Meanwhile Kate Jarvis said: "So, firstly, this is a loss of jobs for people in our community with little or no option to transfer elsewhere.

"Secondly, many people need face to face banking support, from businesses to those whom online is not viable.

"Lastly, it’s a loss to our high street in terms of business space that will be very visible.

"No consultation or thought on community impact whatsoever."