Spain’s largest bank, Banco Santander, is planning to close nearly 450 offices throughout Spain in an effort to reduce costs and improve profitability.
The closures means that 13% of the bank’s 3,467 branches in Spain will be closed. The majority of the affected offices have fewer than four employees. The bank has not disclosed the exact numbers, but Spanish media have suggested that around 1,000 people could lose their jobs.
The closures have been announced to the employees through an internal message allegedly signed by Rami Aboukhair, the manager of the Spanish operations.
It was written that “The financial sector in Spain is facing a period of great change. The current economic conditions with increased regulatory requirements and changes in customer behavior in the use of new technologies makes it necessary to proceed more quickly with our commercial transformation.”
In addition to the closures, Banco Santander are planning to renovate 350 branches this year, according to a new concept that focuses more on diversified counseling rather than simple transactions. The bank plans to save 3 billion euros by the end of 2018 by doubling the number of customers who conduct their transactions digitally instead of using the expensive offices.
Banco Santander has expanded significantly since the millennium several acquisitions. The Bank is currently the largest in Spain and is represented in 19 countries in Europe. They are also the largest bank in South America, with leading positions in Brazil, Mexico and Chile, and with presence in Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia, Uruguay, Peru and Puerto Rico. They also have offices in North America and Asia. It is the world’s fifth largest bank, with 193,863 employees and 121 million customers.