Santander UK plc announced today that it is closing 140 branches across the UK. The company says that the reduction of its branch network is in response to customer behaviour. A growing number of customers are doing their banking activities online today. In other words, they are walking into bricks and mortar branches less often.
Santander UK says its future branch network will consist of a combination of larger branches and smaller hi-tech ones. The larger branches will be offering better community facilities to support local private and corporate customers.
Santander UK branch closures will affect 1,270 workers
A total of 1,270 employees will be affected by the branch closures. The bank says that it has consulted with trade unions and will seek to find alternative positions for those employees.
The company is sure that it can redeploy about one-third of them. In other words, the bank is cutting 1,270 jobs and will redeploy about a third of the people in those jobs. It will do what it can for the other two-thirds.
In a press release, the company wrote:
“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.”
“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.”
£55m investment in refurbishing branches
Santander UK will spend £55 million refurbishing 100 branches over the next two years. The refurbishments will focus on improving personal service, community engagement, and convenience.
Over the last three years, Santander UK branches have seen a 23% decline in the number of transactions. Online banking transactions, on the other hand, have risen by 99% over the same period.
Online banking means banking over the Internet rather than physically entering a branch or using the telephone. Customers today use their smartphones, tablets, and personal computers for their online banking activities. We also use the terms virtual banking, Internet banking, and e-banking.
Santander UK had to make some difficult decisions
Head of Retail and Business Banking at Santander, Susan Allen, 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.”
About Santander UK plc
Santander UK plc is a British bank fully owned by the Spanish Santander Group. Santander Group has its headquarters in the city of Santander in Spain. The UK company’s head office is in London.
The bank employs 20,000 workers and has 14 million active customers in the UK.
Santander UK plc was born in January 2010 following the merger of Abbey National plc and Bradford & Bingley plc. In May 2010, the company absorbed Alliance & Leicester plc.