Santander closing 140 of its branches including one in Hythe

High street bank Santander has announced it is to close 140 of its branches, including one in Kent, putting more than 1,200 jobs at risk.

The bank announced the plans earlier today saying the move will reshape its branch network in response to changes in how customers are choosing to carry out their banking.

The branch in at 63 High Street, Hythe, which trades as Abbey, is set to close on June 6 this year and is the only one in the county set for closure.

The branch is set to close in June
The branch is set to close in June

Santander says its future branch network will be made up of a mixture of larger branches which will offer improved community facilities to support businesses and customers, and smaller branches which will have the latest technology to offer customers more convenient access to services.

The bank has consulted its trade unions on the proposed changes and will seek to find alternative roles for the 1,270 colleagues affected wherever possible.

Bosses say they expect to be able to redeploy around a third of staff affected and will be closely supporting them over the next few weeks as their consultation process continues.

Customers at closing branches will also be supported to find other ways to bank which best suit their needs, including individual help to find alternative branches and access digital, telephone and Post Office banking services.

The bank will keep its nationwide network of 614 branches open following the closures and all Santander current and business account holders can also bank using one of more than 11,000 Post Office branches across the UK.

The Santander bank, Gillingham High Street will remain open
The Santander bank, Gillingham High Street will remain open

In order to deliver a good service in the future the network will see 100 branches refurbished over the next two years through an investment of £55m.

The refurbishments will include a range of changes with a focus on personal service, convenience and community engagement.

Bosses say the number of transactions carried out via Santander branches has fallen by 23% over the past three years, while transactions via digital channels have grown by 99% over the same period.

head of retail and business banking, Susan Allen said: "The way our customers are choosing to bank with us has changed dramatically in recent years, with more and more customers using online and mobile channels. As a result, we have had to take some very difficult decisions over our less visited branches, and those where we have other branches in close proximity.

"We will support customers of closing branches to find alternative ways to bank with us that best suit their individual needs.

"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 a vital role to play and we will be refurbishing 100 of our branches over the next two years.

"We are confident that following these changes we will have the right branch network to serve our customers’ changing needs, and we expect the size of our network to remain stable for the foreseeable future."

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