Santander is set to close more than 100 bank branches nationwide, including one in Darwen and one in Nelson.

The closure of the Darwen branch, on Market Street, which is set to happen by August 12, will mean the town is left with just one bank - Lloyds TSB.

Three other branches in Lancashire will also permanently close, including branches on Euston Road in Morecambe, Clifton Street in Lytham and Market Place in Poulton-le-Fylde.

Nelson will be left with a Halifax and a TSB.

Darwen Town Councillor, Cllr Roy Davies said the closure will affect many of the town's elderly residents, and expects the Lloyds TSB will follow suit shortly after.

He said: "The Lloyds is only open three days a week as it is, so that will probably go as well and we'll probably end up with another takeaway.

"Banks are going the same way as Post Offices - there'll be none left soon, and there's fewer and fewer cash machines for people to use too.

"For all the younger people in Darwen, it probably won't be a problem, as they pay online or just use their cards for everything.

"And the banking industry are trying hard to make all this easier for older folk, and even I am now used to pulling the card out and swiping it, but some older people don't like to use cards.

"They like the feel of cash in their hands, to go into a bank, because that is how they've been brought up, and it's very hard for them to change. They might also be scared about fraud or losing their cards.

"I think the older ones will struggle, and I also think it could mean people going to Blackburn instead of staying shopping in Darwen. And we don't want that.

"With all these new houses going up, we need more shops in Darwen as we want people to stay in the town centre and shop here; we don't want them to go elsewhere."

Santander announced its plans to close 111 branches by the end of August in response to the ongoing shift by customers towards mobile and online banking.

The trend has been accelerated by the pandemic, although branch transactions fell by a third over the two years before the virus crisis and declined by a further 50 per cent in 2020, said the banking giant.

Mobile and online transactions have been growing by 20 per cent each year, with almost two thirds of transactions now digital.

Most of the branches being closed are less than three miles from another Santander branch, and the furthest is five miles.

Blackburn with Darwen Councillor, Cllr Dave Smith, said the closure would inconvenience a lot of people.

He added: "I'm surprised they're closing it to be honest as every time I've been passed it's been busy.

"I think it's going to inconvenience a lot of people in the town, especially business owners."

The closures will leave a network of 452 branches, while Santander said it expects to find alternative roles for a significant number of staff affected by the announcement.

Head of branches at Santander, Adam Bishop, said: “Branch usage by customers has fallen considerably over recent years so we have made the difficult decision to consolidate our presence in areas where we have multiple branches relatively close together.

“We will provide every support to 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 an important role to play and we expect the size of our network to remain stable for the foreseeable future.”

The Communication Workers Union said it had reached a ground-breaking agreement with Santander on new ways of working which will preserve jobs and avoid compulsory redundancies that would otherwise have been “inevitable”.

National officer Sally Bridge said: “Recent membership surveys have indicated a desire from a large majority of those currently working from home for flexibility to continue after the pandemic, and this agreement achieves that for the majority of employees affected by these changes.

“Ultimately, however, faced with the proposals of site closures and consolidations, the deal we’ve negotiated has avoided compulsory redundancies by giving individuals genuine options, crucially protecting our most vulnerable members for whom dual location arrangements were not suitable on account of their exceptional circumstances.

“Santander deserves credit for recognising its responsibilities to its employees and I hope other employers follow the moral lead the bank has taken in what is likely to be one of the first of many far-reaching corporate readjustments to the post-Covid world of work.”