Jobs at risk as Santander to close two Leeds branches in Cross Gates and Horsforth

Santander is to close two Leeds branches putting 13 jobs at risk.

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 11:07 am
Updated Thursday, 25th March 2021, 11:08 am
Santander in Horsforth will close in August (Photo: Google)

The banking giant has announced plans to close 111 branches by the end of August in response to the ongoing shift by customers towards mobile and online banking.

Cross Gates and Horsforth will lose their branches under the plans, with 13 roles affected by the closures. Santander said it expects to find alternative roles for a significant number of staff affected by the announcement.

The Cross Gates branch will close on July 15 and Santander customers in east Leeds will have to travel into the city centre for their nearest branch.

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Horsforth will lose its branch on August 5. Their nearest branch will be more than four miles away in Pudsey.

The shift towards digital banking has been accelerated by the pandemic, although branch transactions fell by a third over the two years before the virus crisis and declined by a further 50 per cent in 2020, said Santander.

Mobile and online transactions have been growing by 20 per cent each year, with almost two thirds of transactions now digital.

Adam Bishop, head of branches at Santander, said: “Branch usage by customers has fallen considerably over recent years so we have made the difficult decision to consolidate our presence in areas where we have multiple branches relatively close together.

We will provide every support to 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.

“We continue to believe that branches have an important role to play and we expect the size of our network to remain stable for the foreseeable future.”

The Communication Workers Union said it had reached a ground-breaking agreement with Santander on new ways of working which will preserve jobs and avoid compulsory redundancies that would otherwise have been “inevitable”.

National officer Sally Bridge said: “Recent membership surveys have indicated a desire from a large majority of those currently working from home for flexibility to continue after the pandemic, and this agreement achieves that for the majority of employees affected by these changes.

“Ultimately, however, faced with the proposals of site closures and consolidations, the deal we’ve negotiated has avoided compulsory redundancies by giving individuals genuine options, crucially protecting our most vulnerable members for whom dual location arrangements were not suitable on account of their exceptional circumstances.

“Santander deserves credit for recognising its responsibilities to its employees and I hope other employers follow the moral lead the bank has taken in what is likely to be one of the first of many far-reaching corporate readjustments to the post-Covid world of work.”

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