Santander UK, the British subsidiary of the Spanish bank, plans to close 111 branches in the United Kingdom by the end of next August, which is equivalent to one in five of its network in the country, while it will carry out a reduction of its corporate centers , including the relocation of its headquarters to the new Milton Keynes campus, and will offer the ability to telecommute to around 5,000 of its workers.
The entity has made the decision to close 111 of its 563 bank branches in the United Kingdom in response to the change in customer habits in favor of mobile and digital banking, a trend that has been accelerated by the pandemic, causing a fall 50% of face-to-face operations in offices in 2020, after a 33% drop in the two years prior to the pandemic.
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Santander has explained that most of the branches affected by the closures are less than three miles (slightly less than 5 kilometers) from another branch of the entity, with a maximum distance of five miles, while all are less than half a mile from at least two free-to-use ATMs and one mile from the nearest post office.
The bank has also indicated that it will maintain a network of 452 branches following the proposed changes, providing broad coverage throughout the UK.
On the other hand, the entity hopes to be able to find alternative roles for a significant number of affected employees who wish to remain at the bank.
“Customer use of branches has decreased significantly in recent years, so we have made the difficult decision to consolidate our presence in areas where we have multiple branches relatively close together,” said Adam Bishop, branch manager for the subsidiary. Santander British.
Change of headquarters and teleworking
On the other hand, Santander UK has reported its plans to reduce its corporate office centers in the United Kingdom to six main locations, as well as its intention to introduce flexible work formulas, which will allow combining work from home and in local centers around 5,000 employees affected by the consolidation plans.
Santander will thus close the corporate offices of Bootle, Newcastle, London Portman House and Manchester Deansgate by the end of 2021, in addition to reducing its office space in London Triton Square, London Ludgate Hill, Leicester Carlton Park and Teesside.
In addition, Milton Keynes, where the bank is investing 150 million pounds (174 million euros) in a new, state-of-the-art campus, will become the bank’s UK headquarters, along with the bank’s bases in Belfast, Bradford, Glasgow, London and Sheffield.
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“The pandemic has accelerated the existing trend towards more flexible work, and our colleagues have told us that this has brought significant benefits for many of them,” said Nathan Bostock, CEO of Santander UK, who stressed that physical spaces continue being very important.
“We are investing £ 150 million in our new state-of-the-art campus in Milton Keynes, which will become our new headquarters. Milton Keynes is one of the UK’s leading technology hubs and, with a number of innovative education and training providers at our fingertips, we believe it will provide us with excellent future access to talent and opportunities for colleagues to innovate and develop their skills. he added.
In any case, the entity specified that all Santander UK office staff, regardless of location, will continue to work from home until at least June 21, 2021, as a reflection of the Government’s guidance to help manage the pandemic.