THE RED and white of Banco Santander draping many a high street in both Britain and Spain is under threat as the financial powerhouse elects to close more than 400 branches in Spain by the end of the year.
Deemed a move towards a more attractive digital banking platform, local media have speculated that close to one thousand jobs will be lost as the bank attempts to streamline its services.
In a lewd example of corporate jargon, country head Rami Aboukhair told employees “The current economic context, greater regulatory requirements and the evolution of client behaviour toward new technology make it necessary to accelerate our commercial transformation.”
There are presently 3,467 Santander branches in Spain, meaning that around 13 per cent will be closed, with the smaller ones leading the way. It’s not an entirely surprising move given that Spain has long been one of the most overbanked countries in Europe, a situation dramatically curtailed by the financial crisis.
Although seeing a rising income throughout 2015, Santander’s shares took a massive hit last year following political and economic instability in Brazil. The firm, under the helm of chair Ana Botin, is now looking to cut €3 billion in expenses over the next two years while doubling its online customer base.