Santander has announced it will close 111 branches up and down the country by the end of August this year.
The Spanish-owned lender said the ‘majority’ of branches being axed were under three miles from another Santander branch, with the furthest being five miles away.
It said that all of the 111 closing branches were within half a mile of at least two free-to-use cash machines.
Branches in New Malden, Marlow, Leatherhead, Sale, Surbiton, Twickenham and Wickford are just some of the swathes being axed.
SROLL DOWN TO SEE IF YOUR LOCAL SANTANDER IS CLOSING
Closures: Santander has announced plans to close 111 branches for good this year
The number of job at risk of being lost remains unclear.
The lender said: ‘Santander has consulted its trade unions on the closure proposals and expects to be able to find alternative roles for a significant number of those colleagues wishing to stay with the bank.’
A customer affected by the closure of the Oxford Headington branch closure told This is Money: ‘We do not do online banking and actually have not been visiting the branch because of this little thing called “lockdown” and “national pandemic”.
‘They are using this lockdown as an excuse to cut branches and access to OUR money becomes even more difficult!’
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 majority of the closing branches are within three miles of another branch and the furthest is five miles away.
‘We will provide every support to customers of closing branches to find alternative ways to bank with us that best suit their individual needs.
Phone number for affected customers
If you’re Santander branch is one of the 111 closing you can phone 0800 085 0879 to get more information.
‘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 an important role to play and we expect the size of our network to remain stable for the foreseeable future.’
The lender said branch transactions fell by 33 per cent over the two years before the pandemic and declined by a further 50 per cent last year.
It added: ‘Mobile and online transactions have meanwhile been growing by 20 per cent each year, with almost two thirds of overall transactions now digital.’
Santander said it would carry out a ‘programme of activities’ to support customers of closing branches to find other ways to bank that best suit their needs, including help to find alternative branches and access digital, telephone and Post Office banking services.
Machines: Santander said branches closing have free-to-use cash machines nearby
The bank will also be contacting vulnerable customers by telephone in order to provide them with ‘individual support.’
The bank will also hold a series of online events over the coming months where a member of Santander’s branch team will explain alternative ways to bank.
According to consumer group Which?, banks and building societies in Britain have closed 4,188 branches since January 2015, at a rate of around 50 each month.
The NatWest Group, which comprises of NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank, closed 1,086 branches during this period, Which? said.
Lloyds Banking Group, made up of Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland, shut down 680 sites. Barclays is the individual bank that has reduced its network the most, with 650 branches have closed – or scheduled to – by the end of 2021, according to Which?
Critics fear that branch closures are a simple way for lenders to cut costs and axe staff, while leaving some disabled, elderly or otherwise vulnerable customers with sparse and often impersonal banking options.
Major shake-up for Santander’s office staff too
As well as cutting branches, Santander also unveiled a big shift to its office network today which will affect thousands of its workforce.
Santander will close its Bootle, Newcastle, London Portman House and Manchester Deansgate offices by the end of this year.
It will also reduce its volume of office space at its London Triton Square, London Ludgate Hill, Leicester Carlton Park and Teesside sites. The bank’s main head office will be in Milton Keynes.
All change: Santander UK chief executive Nathan Bostock with current prime minister Boris Johnson
Around 5,000 staff based at closing or ‘consolidating’ sites will be offered new ‘dual location’ working arrangements, combining working from home with access to local spaces designed ‘to enable team collaboration.’
Nathan Bostock, Santander UK chief executive, 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.
‘We are investing £150m in our state-of-the-art new campus in Milton Keynes, which will become our new headquarters.’
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