TSB is to close more than half of its Scottish branches and cut around 300 jobs, blaming "a significant shift in customer behaviour" as more customers bank online.

The move has been criticised by campaign groups which said older and vulnerable customers would be hit hardest.

Branches due to close include those in some of Scotland's most deprived areas.

The company insisted 94 per cent of TSB customers in Scotland would remain within 20 minutes' travel time of a branch, once closures take effect.

Union Unite described the move as "a dark day for the finance sector".

HeraldScotland: Camley's Cartoon: TSB axes branches.Camley's Cartoon: TSB axes branches.

The bank will introduce around 50 mobile advisors in some rural communities to deliver face-to-face support for existing customers on basic banking queries and organise further support for them.

The Edinburgh-based bank said the closures, set to begin in early 2021, were not an "easy decision" and had been accelerated by the Covid pandemic.

It said it would "continue to invest in its 62 remaining Scottish branches over the next two years to radically improve the customer experience".

TSB, which is owned by Spanish lender Banco Sabadell, has been dogged by technical problems, with an IT failure in 2018 leaving up to 1.9 million customers unable to bank online for several weeks.

HeraldScotland: TSB

Customers were moved on to a new system, but an investigation found it had not been tested properly before going live. It cost TSB a total of £330m for customer compensation, fraud losses and other expenses.

Last month customers were unable to access online banking and in April another outage affected hundreds of users.

And last year, a "processing error" meant wages and other payments were not paid into some TSB customers' accounts.

Robin Bulloch, customer banking director at TSB, said: “These decisions are the most difficult we take, but we must always be guided by our customers - and we are clearly witnessing a substantial shift towards digital banking.

“We operate a more extensive branch network than most other banks in Scotland, including some much larger than TSB, and we need to reduce its size to reflect the changing needs of our customers and a fast-evolving operational environment.

"We are working to ensure the transition towards digital – which is being seen right across the economy – is handled sensitively and pragmatically for our colleagues and customers.”

Age Scotland said it was "appalled" by the latest closures.

Chief executive Brian Sloan said the "relentless push" towards online banking "doesn't suit everyone".

He said: "Those who rely on branches most tend to be older, disadvantaged or on low incomes, and may not find it easy to travel to the next town to do their banking.

"Almost half a million people over 60 don't use the internet, with the highest numbers in the most deprived areas. By turning its back on them, TSB clearly seems to be putting its profits before its customers."

Across the UK it will close 164 branches and cut 90 jobs. The figure is in addition to the 82 branches it said it would close in November, when it set out plans to save £100m by 2022.

Unite's national officer Dominic Hook said: "Unite has argued for some time that the financial services industry has a social responsibility not to walk away from its local customers who continue to need access to banking in bank branches.

"It beggars belief that just seven years ago TSB had 631 local branches and this announcement will reduce that number to merely 290 branches. "

The full list of Scottish branches set to close is: Aberdeen Culter, Aberdeen Dyce, Aberdeen Kincorth, Aberdeen Mannofield, Aberdeen St Machar, Aberdeen Torry, Aboyne, Alexandra, Alford, Anstruther, Banchory, Bathgate, Bearsden, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Blairgowrie, Bo'ness, Broxburn, Buckhaven, Bucksburn, Burntisland, Campbelltown, Carnoustie, Castle Douglas, Coatbridge, Coupar Angus, Cowdenbeath, Crieff, Cumnock, Cupar, Dalkeith, Dingwall, Dundee Craigiebank, Dundee Lochee, Dunoon, Edinburgh Costorphine, Edinburgh Gorgie, Edinburgh Pilton, Girvan, Glasgow Anniesland, Glasgow Dennistoun, Glasgow Drumchapel, Glasgow Easterhouse, Glasgow Partick, Glasgow Springburn, Grangemouth, Grantown-on-Spey, Hawick, Helensburgh, Huntly, Insch, Johnstone, Kelso, Kilbirnie, Kilsyth, Kirkcaldy, Templehall, Largs, Larkhall, Lochgilphead, Montrose, Nairn, North Berwick, Peebles, Penicuik, Pitlochry, Port Glasgow, Prestwick, Renfrew, Rosyth, Rothesay, Saltcoats, Thornliebank, Turriff, Wick.