Santander to slash UK branch network by 140
Santander has today announced plans to “reshape its branch network”, which means it will close 140 branches in the UK in what its says is a “response to changes in how customers are choosing to carry out their banking”.
The Spanish-based lender said its future branch network will be made up of a combination of larger branches offering improved community facilities to support local businesses and customers, and smaller branches using the latest technology to offer customers more convenient access to banking services.
It also stressed that the announcement comes following consultations with trade unions and it will seek to find alternative roles for the 1,270 colleagues affected wherever possible.
The bank expects the process will allow for the redeployment of around a third of those affected and will be closely supporting colleagues over the coming weeks as the consultation process continues.
Santander will support customers of closing branches to find other ways to bank that best suit their needs, including individual help to find alternative Santander branches and access digital, telephone and Post Office banking services.
The closures will start on 25 April when branches at Bathgate, Bideford, Clitheroe, Corby, Eastcote, Helensburgh, Oakham and two in London will shut their doors.
The shut down programme will continue throughout the year with the last of the planned closures hitting branches in Edinburgh, Guildford, London, Norwich and Nottingham on 12 December.
Santander will retain a nationwide network of 614 branches following the proposed changes. All Santander current and business account holders can also bank using one of over 11,000 Post Office branches across the UK.
In order to deliver a branch network for the future, 100 Santander branches will be refurbished over the next two years through an investment of £55 million.
The refurbishments will include a range of changes with a focus on personal service, convenience and community engagement.
The number of transactions carried out via Santander branches has fallen by 23 per cent over the past three years, while transactions via digital channels have grown by 99 per cent over the same period.
UK banks closed 757 branches last year and in January 2019, according to Which? figures. The number of cash machines has also dropped sharply, particularly in rural areas, raising concerns that many consumers are being denied access to financial services.
Susan Allen, head of retail and business banking at Santander, said: “The way our customers are choosing to bank with us has changed dramatically in recent years, with more and more customers using online and mobile channels. As a result, we have had to take some very difficult decisions over our less visited branches, and those where we have other branches in close proximity.
“We will support customers of closing branches to find alternative ways to bank with us that best suit their individual needs. We are also working alongside our unions to support colleagues through these changes and to find alternative roles for those impacted wherever possible.”
“We continue to believe that branches have a vital role to play and we will be refurbishing 100 of our branches over the next two years. We are confident that following these changes we will have the right branch network to serve our customers’ changing needs, and we expect the size of our network to remain stable for the foreseeable future.”
The branches affected in Scotland in date order are:
Bathgate, George Street - 25 April 2019
Helensburgh, West Princess Street - 25 April 2019
St Andrews, Market Street - 2 May 2019
Brechin, St David Street - 9 May 2019
Edinburgh, Leith Walk - 9 May 2019
Alloa, Mill Street - 6 June 2019
Kirkcaldy, High Street - 13 June 2019
Glasgow, Springburn Shopping Centre - 20 June 2019
Glasgow,Forge Shopping Centre - 27 June 2019
Lanark, High Street - 4 July 2019
Renfrew, High Street - 18 July 2019
Troon, Portland Street - 18 July 2019
Forfar, Castle Street - 25 July 2019
Aberdeen, George Street - 7 November 2019
Edinburgh, Morningside Road - 12 December 2019