instagram envelope_alt facebook twitter search youtube_play whatsapp remove external_link loop2 arrow-down2

High streets ‘damaged’ as Santander axes 140 banks

SANTANDER is to close 140 branches as Britain’s high street bank network suffered another damaging setback.

Yesterday’s announcement puts 1,200 jobs at risk and brings the nationwide total of branch closures by all banks to more than 3,000 since 2015.

The Spanish-owned company blamed a slump in the number of transactions in person for the decision, which will see one in five of its outlets axed.

But a consumer watchdog warned the closures will be a ‘blow for those who rely on access to traditional banking services’. Gareth Shaw, head of Which? Money, said: ‘Despite the switch to digital ways of banking and paying, millions of customers still need access to cash.

‘It is vital for a regulator to be given responsibility for ensuring that people have access to services they rely on.’

Which? said 2,868 bank branches were closed between 2015 and 2018 and that branches are ‘disappearing at a rate of more than 60 a month’. Its calculations suggest almost two-thirds of Britain’s bank branch network has been lost in the past 30 years.

Labour’s shadow city minister Jonathan Reynolds said: ‘The Santander decision is disappointing and comes on the heels of hundreds of branches closed in 2018 across the UK network. Not only will jobs be lost but it damages communities and high streets.’

Santander said it is consulting with unions to try to find alternative roles for 1,270 staff but only expects to redeploy a third. Transactions in branches had fallen by 23 per cent over the past three years, it said, while online and mobile transactions were up by 99 per cent. It added: ‘The way our customers are choosing to bank with us has changed dramatically in recent years.’