Santander to cut branch hours

Santander UK has announced it will reduce branch opening hours in the summer.

From 18 July, branches hours will be cut by an hour and a half – from 9.30am-16.30pm to 9.30am-15.00pm.

According to the bank, the number of customers using its branches dropped by 33 per cent in the two years before the pandemic, by a further 50 per cent in 2020, and by 12 per cent last year.

At the same time, digital transactions grew by around 20 per cent in each of these years.

Santander said that between 15.00pm and 17.00pm branch employees will be available for pre-booked face-to-face appointments if customers cannot attend earlier in the day or find an alternative channel.

Under the new changes, 316 branches will move from a full day Saturday opening (09:30am–16:00am) to half day Saturday opening (09:30am-12:30pm). Santander will offer face-to-face appointments between 12.30pm – 16:00pm.

A further 76 branches will keep their current half day opening hours (09:30am-12:30pm) on a Saturday, while 58 branches will remain closed on a Saturday as they are today.

“These changes will enable us to maintain our existing branch network while providing significant additional capacity to help customers who want to talk to us by phone,” said Richard Owen, head of branches. “We have seen a continuing reduction in branch usage over several years, both before and since the peak of the pandemic, with many customers preferring to transact digitally or contact us by phone.

"We want to make sure we have the right mix of channels to help our customers however they choose to bank with us.”

The bank said that there will be no branch closures as part of these changes and all of its 450 branches will remain open every weekday.

It added that there will be no changes to the number of branches open on a Saturday with 87 per cent of branches open from 09:30-12:30 hours.

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