THE six main Spanish banks have shed 2,176 jobs and closed 1,188 offices so far during the coronavirus pandemic – with worse to come in 2021.

This is a reduction of 1.72% of their workforce and 8.12% of their branches. 

Not all the blame can be put on the doorstep of COVID, as banks have been making ‘efficiency’ savings for some time.

Santander Bank

But branch closures accelerated in 2020 and will continue to do so this year, according to plans already published by the big banks.

Banco Santander closed 2020 with 2,923 branches in Spain, 296 fewer than it had a year earlier, and 26,961 workers, 669 fewer. It has also announced a Redundancy Program (ERE) that will see 3,572 jobs go and the closure of 1,033 branches. The company is chifting its emphasis towards an online presence.

BBVA Spain cut 953 jobs and 160 branches in 2020, to 29,330 employees and 2,482 branches. It is now planning a cost-cutting exercise in the first half of 2021, for which ‘all options’ are being studied.

A merger of CaixaBank and Bankia is expected to go ahead in the first quarter of 2021. The banks are in negotiations with trade unions over potential job losses.

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