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BreakingSantander to close 140 UK branches

Santander branch
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Bank Santander has announced plans to "reshape its branch network" and close 140 branches "in response to changes in how customers are choosing to carry out their banking".

Its future branch network will be made up of a combination of larger branches offering improved community facilities to support local businesses and customers, and smaller branches using the latest technology to offer customers more convenient access to banking services.

Santander has consulted its trade unions on the proposed changes and will seek to find alternative roles for the 1,270 members of staff affected.

UBS warns of difficult start to 2019

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Swiss banking giant UBS has warned over a difficult start to 2019 after worse-than-expected earnings for the fourth quarter of 2018.

The group reported a 2% rise in pre-tax profits to $862m in the quarter, which missed analyst forecasts. Profits in its trading division slumped more than 20% however.

The group blamed "geopolitical tensions, rising protectionism and trade disputes along with increased volatility" for its woes.

It added this would also "affect client activity in the first quarter of 2019".

Italian anger over banks

MPS engraved on an arch
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Shares in Italian banks are being hit by demands from the European Central Bank that they take action over the bad debts.

Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena - often referred to as the world's oldest bank - is down 10%.

Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini is not impressed: "The new attack by the ECB supervisor on the Italian banking system and MPS shows once again that the banking union ... not only does not make our financial system more stable, but it causes instability".