In another blow to cash-based businesses, Santander has announced it is to shut 111 branches across the UK.
The high street bank said the reduction in branch visits was a long-term trend that had been accelerated by the pandemic. “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,” said Adam Bishop, head of branches at Santander.
In January, HSBC made the decision to close 82 branches in the UK between April and September this year, claiming customers are turning to digital banking. The company will have 511 branches across the country following the closure programme.
And in March, Bank of Ireland announced it is to close 15 branches in Northern Ireland, more than half of its 28 branches currently operating in NI.
While the move will cut Santander’s High Street estate to 452 branches, it said most of the branches closing were within three miles of another Santander branch. The furthest is five miles. It added that all are within half a mile of at least two free-to-use ATMs and one mile of the nearest Post Office.
In the two years before the pandemic the number of transactions handled in branches fell by a third, the bank said. Last year, it declined by a further 50%. At the same time, mobile and online transactions have grown 20% each year with more than two-thirds of transactions now completed without customers visiting a branch.
About 840 staff will be affected by the closures.