Banco Santander is to shut a fifth of its UK branches with a loss of 1279 jobs as footfall across the estate plummets.
The bank says it has consulted with trade unions on the shuttering of 140 branches and will seek to find alternative roles for about a third of the staff affected by the closures.
The move is part of a plan to reshape the bank's network, based around a combination of larger branches offering improved community facilities to support local businesses and customers, and smaller sites using technology for customer access to banking services.
In total, 100 Santander branches will be refurbished over the next two years through an investment of £55m.
Santander will retain a nationwide network of 614 branches following the proposed changes.
Susan Allen, head of retail and business banking, Santander says the number of transactions carried out via Santander branches has fallen by 23% over the past three years, while transactions via digital channels have grown by 99% over the same period.
"The way our customers are choosing to bank with us has changed dramatically in recent years, with more and more customers using online and mobile channels," she says. "As a result, we have had to take some very difficult decisions over our less visited branches, and those where we have other branches in close proximity.
We continue to believe that branches have a vital role to play and we will be refurbishing 100 of our branches over the next two years. We are confident that following these changes we will have the right branch network to serve our customers’ changing needs, and we expect the size of our network to remain stable for the foreseeable future."
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