Extra branch closures had been expected, but the number announced today is markedly higher than expected. The closures include 30 branches operated by independents. The bank is also opening four new branches, so called Be.Connected branches. Here the emphasis is on digital banking. One such branch already operates in Brussels.
The bank points to the fall in the number of customers visiting branches and the growth of mobile and online applications and transactions. Shrinking the network allows the bank to cut costs.
By the end of the year the bank will operate 678 branches. This number is set to fall to 620 by the end of the year.