Santander starts to reduce the number of its UK branches
Santander has today announced that it is closing 111 of its high street branches, becoming the latest bank to start downscaling its physical presence as more customers move to bank online.
The bank has stated that it’s the number of customers choosing to use online services over banking in-branch that has driven the move, which will see the total number of Santander branches reduced to 452 across the UK.
Approximately 840 staff will be impacted by the branch closures although the bank has stated that it will try to source them other jobs within the business before redundancies are made.
Online And Mobile Transaction Increases
Santander said that the move was not wholly a result of the Coronavirus pandemic but that the last 12 months did accelerate a trend that was already developing.
In the two years prior to the pandemic, the number of transactions that were made in branch fell by around 33%. Within the last year, those transactions fell a further 50%.
Meanwhile transactions made on the mobile app or online have grown 20% every year. More than two thirds of all transactions are now made without a visit to a branch.
Santander did clarify that the majority of branches being closed were within three miles of another Santander branch, and the furthest distance was five miles. All closures are within a mile of a Post Office for basic transactions, and half a mile of at least two free-to-use ATMs.
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.
Adam Bishop, head of branches at Santander
Office Closures Also Taking Place
As well as the branch closures, Santander also announced that offices in Bootle, Newcastle, Manchester and London are to be closed by the end of 2021 and the head office of the bank in the UK will relocate from the capital to Milton Keynes in a bid to reduce costs.
5,000 staff will be affected by the office closures. Their jobs are not currently at risk and they will be asked to either work from home or to travel to one of the six remaining offices in Belfast, Bradford, Glasgow, Sheffield and London as well as the MK HQ.
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.