CareCredit - Women's Health April 2024

Santander Slashes Jobs as Banking’s Digital Shift Continues

Santander bank branch

Santander is reportedly cutting 320 jobs as it continues to embrace digital banking.

The Spain-based bank has laid off a little under 3% of its American staff in the past few days, Bloomberg News reported Sunday (March 3), citing a source familiar with the matter. That person said the cuts are focused on Santander’s retail banking business.

Reached for comment by PYMNTS, Santander offered a statement that notes that it is evolving its business in the U.S. and investing in digital capabilities and “simplified processes.”

“These steps have resulted in an update to our staffing model that impacts a small percentage of our branch colleagues,” Santander said, noting that it will work with the affected employees to “provide internal opportunities, where possible.”

The move comes as Santander has been expanding its digital offerings, such as January’s announcement that it would open a digital bank in Mexico this year.

It’s part of a broader shift toward digital banking that was on display earlier this year when some of America’s biggest banks released their earnings, showing that more users were engaging more frequently with their financial services providers online to handle both basic and more advanced banking activities.

For example, Bank of America reported that 75% of its customers were actively using its digital offerings, with the bank reporting a record number of active digital users, up 5% to 46 million.

More recently, the banking giant announced its clients had a record 23.4 billion digital interactions with the bank in 202, including 12.8 billion account log-ins and 10.6 billion proactive digital alerts.

It’s a move being driven by younger consumers, according to the PYMNTS Intelligence study “Consumer Behaviors and Perceived Security Across Devices.”

That report found that close to three-fourths of Generation Z respondents used their mobile banks for their banking needs, followed by about two-thirds of millennials and more than 60% of Generation X respondents.

That isn’t to say digital banking has killed brick-and-mortar branches. As PYMNTS wrote last month, the two types of banking have become interlinked.

“For the banks themselves, the strategy is one of offering a seamless continuum of digital and in-person interactions as consumers and commercial clients do everything from opening accounts and applying for loans to getting their financial lives in order,” that report said.

And additional research by PYMNTS Intelligence showed that more than a quarter of banking customers would rather meet their servicing needs at a branch, while 50% prefer to visit branches for sensitive or complex issues, such as fraud or financial advice.