Upminster Santander to close amid bank's UK-wide restructure
PUBLISHED: 10:33 23 January 2019 | UPDATED: 14:42 23 January 2019
Santander's Upminster branch is to close after the bank announced it is shutting 140 of its "less-visited" branches across the country.
The bank confirmed today (Wednesday, January 23), that 1,270 jobs are at risk as a result of the restructure, including those of staff at the Corbets Tey Road branch.
A notice posted inside the premises states the branch will close for good on June 13, 2019.
The lender said the closures are in response to how customers are choosing to carry out their banking.
Santander has consulted unions on the proposed changes and will seek to find alternative roles for the 1,270 staff members affected, wherever possible.
The bank expects to be able to redeploy around a third of that number.
Susan Allen, Santander’s head of retail and business banking, 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.”
According to consumer group Which?, nearly two thirds of the UK’s bank branch network has been lost over the past 30 years.
Banks and building societies had 20,583 branches in 1988 according to parliamentary records, but the consumer group’s analysis of current account providers suggests the figure has dwindled to 7,586 branches.
The big high street lenders such as Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group are also closing stores to deal with customers’ changing banking habits and to reduce costs as well as deal with the challenge from new digital only banks such as Starling and Monzo.
However, the branch closures are also seeing people having to travel long distances in order to access financial services and cash.
Gareth Shaw, head of Which? Money, said: “These closures will come as a blow for all those who rely on access to traditional banking services across the UK, at a time when branches are disappearing at a rate of more than 60 a month.
“Despite the switch to digital ways of banking and paying, millions of consumers still need access to cash. It is vital for a regulator to be given responsibility for ensuring that people have access to the services they rely on.”
Santander also announced that it will spend £55 million refurbishing 100 branches over the next two years in order to “focus on personal service, convenience and community engagement”.