The bank’s decision to close branches is based on shifting customers’ preference towards mobile and online banking, driven by the Covid-19 pandemic


A branch of Santander in Cardiff, Wales. (Credit: peter clayton/Wikipedia.)

Santander has unveiled its plans to close 111 of its bank branches in the UK by the end of August this year and merge its office sites into six main locations across the nation.

The branch closures represent about a fifth of its branch network, leaving 452 branches across the UK.

The bank said that its decision to close branches was based on shifting customers’ preference towards mobile and online banking, driven by the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Santander, its branch transactions decreased by 33% over the two years before the Covid-19 pandemic and further declined by 50% last year.

Mobile and online transactions have been increasing by 20% per annum, and nearly two-thirds of overall transactions are now digital, said the bank.

Santander branches head Adam Bishop 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.”

Along with the branch closure, the bank has also announced its plans to move its UK headquarters from London to Milton Keynes, where it has been investing £150m for the new campus.

Santander intends to close its Bootle, Newcastle, London Portman House and Manchester Deansgate offices by the end of 2021, leaving offices in Belfast, Bradford, Glasgow, London and Sheffield as its bases.

Also, the bank is planning to reduce the office space at its London Triton Square, London Ludgate Hill, Leicester Carlton Park and Teesside locations.

Santander said that all customers holding its current and business account are allowed to use banking services from more than 11,000 Post Office branches across the country.

The bank intends to support customers of closing branches to find other suitable ways to bank, including alternative branches, digital, telephone and Post Office banking services.

Also, it is planning to conduct a series of online events in the coming months, where members of its branch team will explain alternative ways to the bank.

Bishop added: “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.

“We are committed to supporting our customers and responding to changes in the way customers want to access services.”