MONMOUTH AM David Davies has labelled Santander's decision to close its Monmouth branch as “another blow to our high street”.

The Spanish banking firm will shut the branch in Agincourt Square on 30 May.

The Monmouth branch is one of 140 earmarked for closure across the UK.

Explaining its decision last week, the bank said the number of in-branch transactions nationwide had fallen by 23 per cent % over the past three years.

Digital and online transactions, however, had grown by 99 per cent in the same period, Santander said.

Mr Davies described the impending closure as “bitterly disappointing” and said he would be seeking urgent assurances about how vulnerable customers will be supported.

Mr Davies said: “This decision is ultimately a commercial one for Santander but it is another huge blow to our high street in Monmouth and to people running shops and small businesses.

“Even though the use of online banking is rising, recent IT failures show systems are not infallible and there are many customers who rely on traditional over-the-counter services.”

Santander joined forces with the Post Office in 2015 to offer its personal current account and small business customers access to daily banking facilities, such as paying in cash and cheques.

But for more specialist queries, the bank’s nearest branches are either in Ross-on-Wye (12 miles away) or Abergavenny (17 miles away).

Mr Davies added: “Low income and elderly people who depend on public transport or don’t have internet access, especially in rural areas, will be hit hardest.

“Not everyone is comfortable or familiar with using online or mobile banking and I trust measures will be put in place by Santander to mitigate the impact of the branch closure on vulnerable customers.

“It is bound to cause a great deal of inconvenience to begin with and we need to make sure the bank is properly supporting and advising people on how they can continue to bank locally.”

Mr Davies said he would also be speaking to Santander about how it plans to help staff members facing redundancy, either through redeployment or further employment outside of the bank.

Across the UK, 1,270 staff will be affected by the closures.