Santander to slash opening hours in Camden, Kilburn and Golders Green

Santander is set to close its branches in Crouch End and Swiss Cottage, although others nearby will

Santander is set to close its branches in Crouch End and Swiss Cottage, although others nearby will remain open. Picture: PA/Joe Giddens - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Santander has announced it is slashing banking hours at all its stores including weekends at Camden Town, Golders Green and Kilburn. 

The three branches are among 300 across the UK which will move from being open from 9.30am to 4pm on Saturdays to operating a half day service, closing at 12.30pm.

The move is part of a shake-up of changes to opening hours being introduced by the bank from July 18 where all Santander banks nationally opening at 9am will close at 3pm on weekdays, instead of 4.30pm.

The bank said branch staff will still be available for pre-booked face-to-face appointments between 3pm and 5pm, if customers need support that cannot be provided through alternative channels or earlier in the day.

Santander closed its branches in Crouch End and Swiss Cottage in 2019.

Last month HSBC announced it will close its branches in Hampstead and Golders Green while Barclays Bank is set to shut its Muswell Hill branch this summer, just months after Lloyds closed.

The government has said it will legislate to protect the future of cash.

Santander said the number of customers using its branches fell by a third (33%) over the two years before the coronavirus pandemic, and a further 50% in 2020 and 12% in 2021.

There will be no compulsory redundancies or a reduction of employee working hours as a result.

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The bank plans to beef up its telephone support for customers and said branch staff will be trained to help on the phone alongside their current face-to-face roles.

Richard Owen, head of branches at Santander, said: “These changes will enable us to maintain our existing branch network while providing significant additional capacity to help customers who want to talk to us by phone.

“We have seen a continuing reduction in branch usage over several years, both before and since the peak of the pandemic, with many customers preferring to transact digitally or contact us by phone.

“We want to make sure we have the right mix of channels to help our customers however they choose to bank with us.”

Which? Money editor Jenny Ross said: “Santander deserves credit for taking greater account of customer needs than some of its rivals that have slashed their branch networks without putting in place reasonable alternatives.

"But this continues a concerning overall trend of banks chipping away at face-to-face services and opening hours."