The branch closures form part of the banking giant’s major shift away from traditional banking structures towards digital banking – in line with local and international consumer behaviour trends that has seen a drastic drop in the number people using walk-in branches to transact.

But as a result, 1200 people are expected to lose their jobs by June this year.

“These changes will impact approximately 1200 jobs. However the actual number of employees who will ultimately exit the employ of Standard Bank SA could be lower, as new opportunities will become available in the new operating model,” Standard Bank said in a statement on Thursday afternoon.

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The bank has assured that employees will be well looked after through a “comprehensive exit package which significantly exceeds the requirements as set out in the Labour Relations Act”.

“We have also set aside funds to assist employees acquire new skills to improve their competitiveness in the labour market, as well as entrepreneurial training and financial assistance,” Standard Bank said.

The bank has begun consulting with employees and engagement processes across the country will continue over the next few weeks.

“This has not been an easy decision to make. We recognise that this is a very stressful time for everyone.”