Banco Santander will continue its deescalation of services on Monday May 11, to coincide with the Government’s timetable. When Spain’s State of Alarm was introduced, the bank closed 50% of its branches across the country. From Monday May 11, 60% will be open to the public. However, the bank’s Executive Chairman Ana Botín has opted for a slower and more gradual return to work than some of its competitors amid the coronavirus crisis.
The bank has confirmed that it will reopen another 189 of its closed branches on Monday totalling 1,919 open offices. However, its branches will have varied timetables. Many of the branches that have been only opening two days a week (Monday and Thursday) since the pandemic, will now open five days a week. That means 1,208 will open Monday to Friday, and the rest (711) will open three days a week (Monday, Wednesday and Thursday). However, all will have shorter customer-facing hours.
Although Santander’s cashier desks were already operating a limited timetable in the larger towns, thanks to an increase in uptake of smart services, the bank aims to introduce a reduced timetable for cashier services across its other branches. It’s piloting a timetable of between 9am and 11am for cashier services in the Canary Islands, and if it goes well, it will be extended across the country.
Nevertheless, Santander aims to limit cashier services across all its offices as a result of the pandemic too, so many employees can continue to work remotely until September, where possible. As well as testing the most vulnerable staff every Monday for Covid-19, the bank’s staff will use masks, gloves and hand sanitiser, as well as limit the number of customers entering branches, to prevent contagion.