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Santander, Spain's largest bank, is to close 700 branches once it has absorbed its Banesto and Banif subsidiaries, leading to an unspecified number of job cuts over the course of the merger.
A statement issued by the bank attributed the fusion to "the deep restructuration of the Spanish banking system, which is leading to a strong reduction in the number of competitors and the creation of larger banks."
The decision to absorb Banesto, a smaller bank acquired by Santander in 1994, will cost €260 million, but will eventually save the bank €520 million in total.
The Santander brand will now have 4,000 branches in Spain and 14,000 worldwide.