AN ANDOVER bank will be closing its branch next year with three jobs under threat, the Advertiser can confirm.

TSB, at 24 High Street, will be shutting its doors in June, 2021, leaving the Romsey branch as the nearest alternative.

The news comes as a blow to the town centre. The building has been an important fixture in the town for years, serving as a bank for various companies.

The closure comes as part of sweeping measures by the TSB group to streamline operations in the online age as part of a three-year transformation that will see 164 branches close across the UK.

The Advertiser understands three jobs based at the Andover branch will be under review.

Reacting to the news town councillor Christopher Ecclestone said: “I was actually thinking just last week that Andover had been spared the cuts as a lot of branches across the country have shut. This is actually the first closure for years.

“Andover has dodged a bullet, up until now, and unfortunately its finally reached us. Let's hope it’s the last.”

The branch officially closes on June 24, 2021, with the nearest branch 17 miles away in Romsey.

Debbie Crosbie, chief executive of TSB, said: “Closing any of our branches is never an easy decision, but our customers are banking differently, with a marked shift to digital banking.

“We are reshaping our business to transform the customer experience and set us up for the future. This means having the right balance between branches on the high street and our digital platforms, enabling us to offer the very best experience for our personal and business customers across the UK.”

Lockdown restrictions have also accelerated the shift from in store banking to online banking resulting in TSB’s partnership with IBM Cloud. This partnership saw TSB launch TSB Smart Agent, a new online chat function that went live within a matter of days during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Robin Bulloch, TSB customer banking director, said: “Alongside these changes, we will continue to invest in our remaining branch network to offer high quality banking services, fully integrated with improved digital capability.

“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. We’re taking steps to support vulnerable customers and those in rural locations.”

Town councillor Luigi Gregori, who coincidentally opened his own TSB account just two months ago, said: “There’s huge segments of the population, they’re older and may use the internet or not but, they are much more comfortable using a branch.

“The problem also is a lot of rural branches have closed across all sorts of banks so the question is if they keep closing where do people engage with banks on a face to face basis.”

As to the reuse of the building, he said: “Andover has a buoyant residential market. God bless Test Valley because they have tried to encourage pop-up shops and all sorts of things in empty retail units.”

A spokesman for Test Valley Borough Council described the news as a “shame” but said thankfully Andover had been left in a good position overall.

Rumours that Lloyds bank, at 22 High Street, is closing are incorrect.

A spokesman told The Advertiser they have no plans to close.