Known locally as ‘The Giro’ the Santander UK hub in Bootle, near Liverpool, employs 2,100 staff and was first opened as the state-owned National Girobank in 1968. Tony McDonough reports
Banking giant Santander UK is to close its Bootle operation with many of the 2,100 staff working from home or from smaller hubs.
As part of a nationwide move by the Spanish-owned business to introduce more flexible working in the wake of the pandemic, Santander is reversing its plans to build a new £75m complex on the site of the former Girobank, known local as ‘The Giro’.
Santander said around 1,800 people at Bootle had already been working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. It says it will be renting “collaboration space” close to the Bootle site with extra space available at its city centre base in St Paul’s Square.
It will be the end of an era for the Bridle Road site which was opened by the old state-owned Girobank in 1968 as the headquarters of its national operations. When it was set up it was believed the National Girobank was the first financial institution in the world to be fully computerised.
Santander secured planning permission from Sefton Council for the Bootle rebuild in 2019. It would have been the main contact centre and operations hub for Santander UK. A new public park and new pavilions were also part of the plans.
Across the UK Santander is also closing offices at Newcastle, London Portman House and Manchester Deansgate offices by the end of 2021. And it will also slash its office space at its London Triton Square, London Ludgate Hill, Leicester Carlton Park and Teesside sites.
Around 5,000 staff based at closing or consolidating sites will be offered ‘new dual location working arrangements’, combining working from home with access to local spaces. This, the company says, is “designed to enable team collaboration”. It also also shutting 11 bank branches across the north.
Nathan Bostock, chief executive of Santander UK, said: “The pandemic has accelerated the existing trend towards greater flexible working, and our colleagues have told us this has brought significant benefits for many of them.
“At the same time, physical spaces remain very important and our sites around the UK will provide our colleagues with first-class facilities fit for the future.
“We will retain space in the Bootle area for collaboration and talent development. We look forward to continuing to work with colleagues, the local community in the Bootle area and Sefton Council in the years ahead.”