BANKING giant Santander has confirmed the closure of three branches in Hampshire.

Branches in Romsey, Chandler’s Ford and Lymington will close in July.

Santander has announced the closure of 140 branches across the country, with 1,270 jobs now at risk.

The firm said the decision was made in response to changes in the way customers do their banking.

The number of transactions carried out via Santander branches has fallen by 23% over the past three years, while digital transactions have grown by 99% over the same period, according to the bank.

Figures released by Santander showed that 54% of Romsey customers have been using online, mobile or telephone banking services for their transactions.

The online banking services are also preferred by the 56% of customers in Lymington and the 62% of Santander customers in Chandler’s Ford.

Santander said it would support customers of closing branches to find other ways to bank that best suit their needs.

But town bosses in Romsey said the figures showed there was still a large number of residents who prefered to go into a branch, and their needs should be satisfied.

Cllr David Drew, economic development portfolio holder at Test Valley Borough Council said: “It is disappointing that their stats show there are people who would want to use the service. I would urge to look at all means by which they can continue to provide the services in the town.”

The branch in Chandler’s Ford will close on July 11, and will be followed by Romsey on July 18 and Lymington on July 25.

Santander said it would retain a nationwide network of 614 branches.

Ross McNally, executive chair at Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Santander, like much of the banking sector, is going through a period of transition. Clients are changing the way they bank and manage their finances and banks need to adapt to these new conditions. It is essential that both the banks and their business clients effectively adjust so in the future a robust banking sector is able to serve business needs.”

The company has confirmed it will try to find alternative roles for the 1,270 employees affected wherever possible. Around a third of those affected are expected to be redeployed.

Susan Allen, the firm’s head of retail and business banking, said: “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.”