Santander to close 111 branches

Santander has announced plans to close 111 branches across the UK due to the increasing shift to mobile and online banking.

The Spanish bank said it had made the decision because fewer customers were choosing to bank in branch.

About 840 staff will be affected by the closures, although Santander promised to try to find them other jobs within the business.

Santander said the reduction in branch visits was a long-term trend that had been accelerated by the pandemic.

Adam Bishop, head of branches at Santander, 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.”

The move will cut Santander’s High Street presence to 452 branches.

However, Santander said the majority of closing branches were within three miles of another branch, adding that the furthest is five miles.

The bank said: “All are within half a mile of at least two free-to-use ATMs and one mile of the nearest Post Office.”

Santander has revealed that in the two years before the beginning of the pandemic, the number of transactions handled in branches fell by a third. Last year, it declined by a further 50%, BBC News reports.

At the same time, mobile and online transactions have increased by 20% each year with more than two-thirds of transactions now completed without customers visiting a branch.

The bank also plans to move its headquarters from London to Milton Keynes and reduce the amount of space it rents in the capital.

Santander has revealed it will close offices in Bootle, Newcastle, London and Manchester before the end of the year. The 5,000 office staff affected will be asked to work from home more often or travel to one of its six remaining offices in Belfast, Bradford, Glasgow, London and Sheffield, as well as its new headquarters.

Nathan Bostock, Santander’s UK boss, said: “The pandemic has accelerated the existing trend towards greater flexible working, and our colleagues have told us this has brought significant benefits for many of them.

“At the same time, physical spaces remain very important and our sites around the UK will provide our colleagues with first-class facilities fit for the future.”

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