Santander has announced plans to close 111 of its branches by the end of August 2021, impacting 5,000 jobs and representing another blow to the UK high street.
The bank claimed the streamlining of its portfolio is in response to the ongoing shift to mobile and online banking, as the pandemic has further accelerated the reduction in footfall.
Transactions at Santander’s onsite branches fell 33% over the two years leading up to the pandemic, with Covid-19 contributing to a further 50% decline since.
However, the proposed changes will see the group retain its 452 branches across the UK, with current and business account holders also able to use its 11,000 post office branches.
Adam Bishop, head of branches at the company, said that onsite usage has “fallen considerably”, resulting in the “difficult decision to consolidate our presence in areas where we have multiple branches relatively close together”.
He 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.”
The decision follows a number of high street exits over the past few days, with John Lewis’ closure of eight stores placing 1,465 jobs at risk and Tui’s 48-site portfolio reduction impacting 273 jobs in the process.
In fact, a study conducted by the Local Data Company found that 11,000 stores closed across the UK’s high streets in 2020, with a further 18,000 possibly following in 2021.