Santander to close branches in two Fife towns

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Santander is set to close branches in two Fife towns later this year.

The bank will shut its town centre bases in Kirkcaldy and St Andrews as part of a UK-wide shake-up.

That will leave the bank with just one branch in the Kingdom – in Dunfermline.

A total of 140 branches are set to shut, affecting almost 1200 staff.

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The doors to the branch in Market Street, St Andrews, will close on May 2, with Kirkcaldy shutting on June 13.

The bank says it is responding to changes in the way customers do their banking.

It says transactions in branches have fallen by 23 per cent, while digital channels have grown by 99 per cent – but the closures mean more empty units for our town centres, and local jobs under threat.

Kirkcaldy has already endured a torrid start to 2019 with the loss of ACA Sports and The Pancake Place, the imminent closure of M&S and The Postings Shopping Centre being offered for sale at auction for a pitiful £1.

Santander says its future branch network will be made up of “a combination of larger branches offering improved community facilities to support local businesses and customers, and smaller branches using the latest technology to offer customers more convenient access to banking services”

But customers in Kirkcaldy and St Andrews will get neither.

The Lang Toun has already seen the Clydesdale Bank and RBS shut its High Street branches.

Susan Allen, head of retail and business banking, said: “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.

“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 will support 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 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.”

The bank has consulted trade unions on the closures and will seek to find alternative roles for the 1270 colleagues affected wherever possible.