The institution announced that profits between January and March fell 71.2 percent to €34.2 million with the results including a provision of €164.5 million to cope with the restructuring of the bank’s human resources.

In the statement of results of the first three months of the year, the bank states that “the optimisation of the branch network implied a reduction from 427 to 386 branches (between December 2020 and March 2021)”, leading to the closing of 41 branches , and that “68 bank exit agreements with covered employees were concluded”.

“On this date, procedures are initiated towards a unilateral reduction that will include the other employees whose functions have become redundant, a measure that will include between 100 and 150 employees”, the statement adds.

In addition, a general voluntary leave programme is underway for employees aged 55 or over (Plan 55+), who currently represent about 950 bank employees.

“In June, after the conclusion of this plan, a restructuring plan will be approved, the scope and dimension of which will be determined according to the results of the 55+ Plan”.

According to the data made available by the institution led by Pedro Castro e Almeida, in March this year, the total number of workers was 5,954, 215 less than in the same month last year. The bank had 386 branches in March, 96 fewer than a year earlier.

In early March, Banco Santander announced in an internal note, to which Lusa had access, that it was going to open two voluntary membership plans, one for the departure of employees over 55 and the other in the scope of the resizing of branches.

In another letter sent to workers on 25 January, and which the Lusa agency also had access to, Santander justified the process of closing branches with an adaptation to the business model that it says is mandatory to survive.