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Santander to close bank branches at 3pm

·2-min read
Santander said there would be no branch closures as part of the announcment (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Archive)
Santander said there would be no branch closures as part of the announcment (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Archive)

Santander is cutting back bank branch opening hours as it shifts towards digital banking.

Almost all branches will now close at 3pm on weekdays instead of the usual 4:30pm, while the majority of branches will close at 12:30pm on Saturdays instead of 4pm.

Just four branches – in Gateshead, Sheffield, Basingstoke and Leeds – will remain open past 3pm on weekdays.

The revised opening times are a reflection of when customers are most likely to visit the branches according to the bank.

Richard Owen, head of branches at Santander, said: “We have seen a continuing reduction in branch usage over several years, both before and since the peak of the pandemic, with many customers preferring to transact digitally or contact us by phone.

“These changes will enable us to maintain our existing branch network while providing significant additional capacity to help customers who want to talk to us by phone.”

Customers usage of Santander’s branches fell 50% in 2020 and 12% in 2021.

Santander announced the closure of 111 branches in March 2021, including 44 in London such as in Fulham, Chelsea, Bethnal Green and Barking.

The Spanish-headquartered bank said there would be no further branch closures and no involuntary redundancies as a result of today’s announcement.

As part of the move, branch employees will be trained to handle phonecalls from customers and will continue to be available for pre-booked face-to-face appointments if customers cannot get support earlier in the day.

In an investor call in February, Santander Chair Ana Botin said the company was committed to “achieving cost savings through structural changes” to make the bank “a winner in the digital age.”

Government High Streets Task Force expert Dr Jackie Mulligan said: “In recent months, we have seen a number of banks announce branch closures and this news from Santander is another significant blow to retailers around the UK.

“The shift to digital banking is irreversible, but so, too, is the damage caused by banks reducing their presence or opening hours on our high streets.

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