In response to changing customer habits, opening hours are being reduced at hundreds of Santander branches across the UK
Santander is reducing its opening hours in hundreds of UK branches (Photo: Adobe)
Santander is cutting its opening hours at hundreds of UK branches as part of a major restructuring.
The bank said the changes, which will take effect from July, are in response to long-term trends in customer behavior.
The number of customers using its branches fell by a third (33%) in the two years before the Covid pandemic, followed by another 50% in 2020 and 12% in 2021.
Santander said there will be no redundancies or reductions in employee hours as a result of the changes.
The bank instead plans to ramp up its phone support for customers, and branch staff will be trained to help on the phone alongside their current face-to-face roles.
What are the new opening times?
From July 18, the bank will be open weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. instead of 4:30 p.m.
Branch staff remain available for pre-booked in-person appointments between 3pm and 5pm should customers require assistance that cannot be provided through alternative channels or earlier in the day.
A handful of mall stores are exempt from the changes, including:
- the Gateshead Metro branch, which is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 6pm
- the Sheffield Meadowhall branch which is open weekdays from 10.30am to 7.30pm
- the Basingstoke branch which is open Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 7pm
The Work Cafe in Leeds will also be open between 9am and 4.30pm on weekdays, Santander said.
As part of the restructuring, 316 branches will also switch from Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to half-day operations, which close at 12:30 p.m. Personal appointments can still be made in these branches until 4:00 p.m.
Meanwhile, 76 branches will maintain their current half-day hours on a Saturday and 58 locations will remain closed on a Saturday.
Santander said there will be no store closures as part of the changes and all 450 locations will remain open every day of the week.
The number of branches open on Saturdays also does not change, 87% of branches are open from 9.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.
The bank said the move reflects a thorough review of when customers use its branches. Richard Owen, Branch Manager at Santander, said: “These changes will allow us to maintain our existing branch network while providing significant additional capacity to help customers who wish to speak to us over the phone.
“We have seen a steady decline in store 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.”
Santander said it would write to regular customers at the branches to explain the new opening hours and offer support.
Where is Santander reducing the opening hours of the branches on Saturday?
The following Santander branches will be open half day on Saturdays from July 18th and will close at 12:30pm: