Santander to be second bank to leave Keynsham High Street in a year

February 01 2019

Another high street bank has announced it will be leaving Keynsham.

Santander has revealed it plans to shut the town’s branch on July 4 – just over a year after NatWest closed its doors in the High Street for the last time.

It is one of 140 branches Santander intends to axe in the coming year, which the banking giant says will affect 1,270 employees nationwide.

The decision, says the firm, has come in response to changes in the way people carry out their banking as more and more transactions are completed online.

When it assessed the Keynsham branch, the bank says it found that 88 per cent of people visiting it used a variety of banking methods, 29 per cent also used another branch and 58 per cent had used internet, mobile or telephone banking.

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.”

When Keynshamvoice posted the news online, many people raised concerns at the loss of another opportunity for face-to-face banking locally, with many praising the branch’s staff and some saying they now intended to switch their account from Santander.

Others said they felt frequent queues at the branch showed there was still demand while others admitted they hadn’t visited a bank branch in some time.

Clive Fricker, chair of Keynsham Town Council and Keynsham Business Forum, said he was concerned at the impact of another bank closure on the High Street.

He told Keynshamvoice: “Based on experience with NatWest, any reduction in normal banking facilities is negative news with implications for ease of service and local economic spend and footfall with its multiplier impact. The last thing we want is a domino effect and finish with no prime banking source and there are real concerns for the less able or mobile members of our community in the current banking sector contraction.”

Following the closure, the nearest Santander branch will be just under five miles away in Kingswood or in the centre of Bath. Account holders can also bank at Post Office branches.

  • Keynsham Business Forum next meets on Wednesday, February 13, and Thursday, April 18 at The Space. It is free to join and there is more information, including upcoming topics and workshops, at https://tinyurl.com/keynshambusiness