Santander to close branches, cut staff in Italy - unions

Illustration shows Santander Bank logo

MILAN (Reuters) - The Italian consumer credit unit of Santander is planning to shut all of its branches in the country and cut around 14% of the local workforce, a banking union said on Wednesday.

A spokesperson for Santander Consumer Bank Italy (SCB Italy) confirmed there was a plan to shut down some branches "as customers increasingly opt to use digital channels," adding that compulsory redundancies could inevitably follow.

Representatives for Santander Consumer Bank and unions will meet on Thursday to start discussing the restructuring plan, the banking union Fisac Cgil said in a statement.

The planned staff reduction will affect around 100 workers at the bank's local offices and headquarters in Italy, according to a Fisac official.

The SCB Italy spokesperson said the bank was "committed to minimising compulsory redundancies wherever possible".

(Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte and Jesus Aguado, writing by Gianluca Semeraro, editing by Keith Weir)