Royal Bank of Scotland has announced plans to shut a further 44 branches across the UK, as it seeks to cut costs by 40%, or £5.3 billion, over the next three to four years.

The partially state-owned bank said there had been a fall of up to 30% in branch transactions since 2010 and that the decision was a reflection of how its customers now interacted with it.

But campaigners warned that almost a third of the branches were classified as ‘last banks in town’ offering the only access to financial services to remote or isolated communities.

‘It's no surprise, then, to see the bank let down its customers once again by upping sticks and leaving town - even where it's promised not to do so,’ said a spokesperson for campaign group Move Your Money.

‘It just goes to show that RBS is no place to hold an account, and it's time to move your money to a local or mutual provider if you haven't done so already. There are plenty of better options out there.’

RBS said that many of the branches being singled out were already open only a few hours a week, during which it could only deal with a handful of transactions.

‘We have to adapt to what our customers want, which is why we are investing in a range of other ways our customers can bank with us,’ said the bank.  The company currently has around 2,000 branches, 314 of which are being sold to the breakoff business Williams & Glyn.