Bank to cut opening hours due to changes in customer behaviour
- Credit: Google
Bank Santander is cutting opening hours in July.
The bank said the move, which will see branches open from 9.30am to 3pm instead of 4.30pm on weekdays, was in response to changing customer behaviours.
Staff will still be available for pre-booked face-to-face appointments between 3pm and 5pm, the bank said, if customers need support that cannot be provided through alternative channels or earlier in the day.
A handful of branches situated in shopping centres will be excluded from the changes.
Santander has branches in Exmouth, Honiton and Exeter.
The bank said the number of customers using its branches fell by a third (33%) over the two years before the coronavirus pandemic, and a further 50% in 2020 and 12% in 2021, prompting the rethink.
The changes will take effect from July 18.
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Santander said there will be no compulsory redundancies or a reduction of employee working hours as a result.
Elsewhere, the bank plans to beef up its telephone support for customers and said branch staff will be trained to help on the phone alongside their current face-to-face roles.
The shake-up will also see 316 branches move from being open from 9.30am to 4pm on Saturdays to operating a half-day service, closing at 12.30pm.
Face-to-face appointments can still be made at these branches until 4pm.
Meanwhile, 76 branches will retain their current half-day opening hours on a Saturday, and 58 sites will remain closed on a Saturday.
There will be no branch closures as part of the changes, Santander said, adding that all of its 450 sites will remain open every weekday.
There will be also be no change in the number of branches open on a Saturday, with 87% sites operating from 9.30am to 12.30pm.
Richard Owen, head of branches at Santander, said: “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.
“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.”
Santander said it will be writing to regular branch customers to explain the new opening hours and to offer support.