Business Community Newry

Santander Makes Changes to Branch Opening Hours

From 18 July, Santander will be making changes to its branch opening hours and providing increased telephone support for customers in response to long-term trends in customer behaviour. 

The changes to branch opening hours will mean:
•    Branches1 will be changing their weekday (Monday – Friday) opening hours from 09:30–16:30 hours to 09:30–15:00 hours;
•    Between 15:00 and 17:00 hours, branch colleagues will be available for pre-booked face-to-face appointments if customers need support that cannot be provided through alternative channels or earlier in the day;
•    316 branches will move from full day Saturday opening (09:30–16:00 hours)to half day Saturday opening (09:30-12:30 hours). Face-to-face appointments can be made at these branches from 12:30-16:00 hours where customers need support that cannot be provided through alternative channels or earlier in the day;
•    76 Branches will retain their current half day opening hours (09:30-12:30) on a Saturday and 58 branches will remain closed on a Saturday as they are today. 

There will be no branch closures as part of these changes and all of Santander’s 450 branches will remain open every weekday, offering consistent opening hours across the network from 09:30 – 15:00 hours, Monday to Friday1. There will be no changes to the number of branches open on a Saturday with 87% of branches open from 09:30-12:30 hours. The changes reflect a thorough review of when customers use the bank’s branches.  

To strengthen telephone support for customers, branch staff3 will be trained to help customers on the phone alongside their current face-to-face roles.  Branch teams supporting telephone customers was introduced as a pilot during the pandemic and successfully helped 1.4 million customers in 2021. 

Richard Owen, Head of Branches – 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.”

The number of customers using Santander’s branches fell by 33% over the two years before the pandemic, a further 50% in 2020 and 12% in 2021.  Digital transactions grew by around 20% in each of these years. 

Santander will be writing to regular4 branch customers from 21 April to explain the new opening hours and to offer any support they may need as a result of the changes. The bank also has a number of ways to help customers who want to find alternative ways to manage their everyday banking, from branch teams hosting online events to a range of guidance on Santander’s website. 

Santander has consulted its trade unions on the proposals and will be providing training for colleagues as they take on new skills and responsibilities on the phone. 

Santander remains actively committed to the wider access to cash movement with representation on several industry working groups and participation in the Cash Action Group’s shared hub initiative. 

Details of Santander’s current branch opening hours can be found here.

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