Milton Keynes becomes new Santander headquarters but banking giants close over 100 branches including a local bank
The banking giants are moving their HQ up from London to the city, but also closing 111 branches.
The Santander branch at the Brunel Centre in Bletchley is one of 111 branches permanently closing.
Yet, the corporate headquarters previously based in the capital is coming to Milton Keynes The head office will be in the Unity Place building and is slated to open in 2023. Santander will be investing £150 million into renovating the Milton Keynes campus.
Nathan Bostock, CEO Santander UK said: “Milton Keynes is one of the UK’s leading technology centres and with a number of innovative education and training providers on our doorstep, we believe it will provide us with excellent future access to talent and opportunities for colleagues to innovate and develop their skills.”
When addressing the closures the head of branches, Adam Bishop cited customers' pivot to online banking, saying: "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.
"The majority of the closing branches are within three miles of another branch and the furthest is five miles away."
After the closures there will be 452 branches on UK high streets. Santander is working to find new jobs for a "significant number" of the 840 members of staff affected by the closures.
As well as moving its headquarters to MK the bank is also closing and consolidating its other offices. Offices in Bootle, Newcastle, London and Manchester will close before the end of 2021.
The 5,000 employees affected will be asked to move to remaining offices in Belfast, Bradford, Glasgow, London and Sheffield, as well as its new headquarters, or will be given greater flexibility to work from home permanently.
Bostock added: “The pandemic has accelerated the existing trend towards greater flexible working, and our colleagues have told us this has brought significant benefits for many of them. At the same time, physical spaces remain very important and our sites around the UK will provide our colleagues with first-class facilities fit for the future."
Offices were only at 60% occupancy before the pandemic, since the emergence of the Coronavirus 85% of staff have been working from home.