Santander set to close 111 UK branches as in-person banking declines

Santander has announced that ir will close 111 branches across the country due to the shift to mobile and online banking.

The bank also announced a shake-up of its office sites that will lead to four locations being closed and its UK headquarters being moved from London to Milton Keynes. 

About 5,000 staff are affected by the offices announcement, and Santander said they would be offered new arrangements combining working from home with “access to local spaces designed to enable team collaboration”.

Santander said the reduction in branch visits was a long-term trend that had been accelerated by the pandemic. Branch transactions fell by a third over the two years before the onset of the pandemic and by a further 50% last year.

Meanwhile, mobile and online transactions have grown 20% each year with more than two-thirds of transactions now completed without customers visiting a branch.

The move will reduce Santander's High Street presence to 452 branches.

But the bank said the majority of closing branches were within three miles of another Santander branch. The furthest is five miles, it said.

Nathan Bostock, Santander's UK boss, 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."

In addition, the bank said all current and business account holders would still be able to bank in person at more than 11,000 Post Office branches.

The closure programme will start on 24 June, with four branches in London and one in Glasgow among the first to shut. All 111 are to be closed by the end of August.

It will also reduce the amount of office space at its current headquarters at London’s Triton Square, near Regent’s Park, as well as at its London Ludgate Hill, Leicester Carlton Park and Teesside sites.

Santander's latest move follows the announcement made in January by HSBC, which said it would be closing another 82 branches this year. This month, Marks & Spencer’s banking arm, M&S Bank, said its 29 in-store branches would close in early July.