BANKING giant Santander has been urged to rethink plans to axe branches in two of Glasgow’s poorest areas.

The Spanish owned firm is shutting the branches in Springburn and Parkhead as part of a nationwide closure programme with 140 closing down, 15 in Scotland.

One of the key considerations is the growth of customers using the internet and mobile phones for banking.

However, the figures for web banking in the two branches is comparatively low.

In Springburn, more than half of its customers (51%) have not used mobile or internet banking. In Parkhead, it is similar with 49% not using the net for banking.

The north and east of Glasgow are among the lowest in the country for having access to digital equipment and for a low level of digital skills.

Local politicians have criticised the closure plans as “abandoning” customers and want to meet with Santander bosses to urge them to think again.

David Linden Glasgow East SNP MP said the decision as “wrong-headed” and a “hammer blow” to the community.

He said: “There doesn’t seem to have been any form of consultation or engagement with customers leading up to this announcement, which makes the reasoning for this decision difficult to understand.

“Santander’s own factsheet about the closure suggests that customers use their closest branch in Rutherglen, which shows a complete lack of local understanding in the decision making process. To add insult to injury it suggests that customers can easily reach their new branch by train, a journey that in reality takes over an hour, involves travelling through Partick, and walking for more than a mile.”

John Mason Shettleston SNP MSP said the branch is busy and regularly has queues.

He said: “It is the only Santander branch in the East End of Glasgow. Once again we are clearly seeing that the banks are driving closures for their own purposes with no concern for what customers need or want.”

In Sprinburn the customers are being told to use the city centre branch instead.

Bob Doris, Maryhill and Springburn SNP MSP said it is a “kick in the teeth” to local customers.

He said: “Face to face banking facilities are a necessity for many of my constituents, not simply a preference. With 51% of customers at Springburn not using online banking, that’s a clear signal of the vulnerabilities that will exist amongst the community and a real indication of need.”

Paul Sweeney, Labour Glasgow North East MP said he would like a law that protects banking services in poorest communities.

He said: “I accept technological change but it is unfair to cut people off who don’t have access to the technology.

“The nearest branch is Sauchiehall Street and that will cost bus and train fares.

“It’slike a tax on accessing banking services.”