Thursday, December 11, 2014

News: Santander close another Rotherham branch

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Spain's Santander bank has closed its second branch in Rotherham town centre as part of an "on-going branch de-duplication programme" as customers increasingly use other methods to do their banking.

The UK bank network grew with the acquisition of Abbey National, Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley and up until recently Santander had three branches in close proximity on Effingham Street and College Street, the key shopping streets in Rotherham town centre. It was set to make it four by taking over the RBS branch on the High Street but Santander decided to withdraw from its agreement to purchase the RBS England and Wales branches and accounts.

One Effingham Street branch closed with bookmaker Coral opening in the former Falstaff pub building in 2013.

Now the College Street branch has closed too, a few months after Natwest closed its Corporation Street branch citing that the number of people using the branch had dropped by 12% since 2011 as customers use alternative ways of banking such as by telephone, in Post Offices, by app and online.

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Santander's CEO said in last year's annual report that the branch network (which numbered 13,927 in the world) will continue to be the main channel for high value relationships with customers. Javier Marin added: "At the same time, as an increasing percentage of our clients are operating via online and mobile telephone banking and the contact centre, we are strengthening our multi-channel distribution model so as to provide a more integral, complete and accessible service."

In the UK, 2014 has seen a "further consolidation of multi-branch locations" with Santander reporting in its latest financial results for the nine months to September 2014 that its branch numbers had decreased to 950 from 1,191 in the same period last year. The UK division enjoyed attributable profit of £326m for the period thanks to its mortgage lending, current accounts and commercial lending.

The quarterly management statement added: "We continued to invest in branch refurbishments and digital technology. This year we have delivered a number of improvements in all of our digital platforms including our online and mobile banking services as well as introducing more digital technology into our branches, a new public website, a new online bank interface, a new iOS App, improvements in alerts functionality, improved online sales capability and a rollout of digital ATMs."

Santander website

Images: Santander

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