300 jobs to go as Virgin Money reboots plans for Clydesdale integration
Clydesdale Bank owner Virgin Money is resuming plans to shut or merge more than 50 branches and axe 300 jobs after pausing the overhaul amid the coronavirus crisis.
The Glasgow-based group, formerly known as CYBG, said the immediate job cuts were 200 fewer than those previously announced due to changes made in response to Covid-19. It will also offer staff affected by branch closures the option to remain with the group until 20 October to help offer support to vulnerable customers.
The lender will restart its shake-up next month, shutting 22 branches and merging 30 more into nearby sites within a half-mile radius, as well as rebranding all Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank branches under the Virgin Money banner.
The full branch rebrand should be completed by the end of January, resulting in the phasing out of the centuries-old Clydesdale Bank name, though the group has previously said that it will remain on banknotes.
Lucy Dimes, group business transformation officer at Virgin Money UK, said: “While the decision to recommence these redundancies and branch closures has not been taken lightly, we are committed to integrating Virgin Money under one brand as a sustainable, innovative business that invests in improving its customer offer for the future.
“The measures we’ve put in place during the lockdown will continue to help customers engage with alternative and improved ways of banking with us.”
The group stressed that through its voluntary redundancy scheme, the number of compulsory redundancies would be kept at a minimum.
In May, Virgin Money saw its underlying profits more than halve after taking a £232 million hit as it braced itself for a jump in bad loans as a result of the pandemic.
The lender posted underlying pre-tax profits of £120m for the six months to the end of March, down 58 per cent on a year earlier. On a statutory basis, the group swung to a £7m interim loss from profits of £42m a year ago.
Total charges included an extra £164m set aside for Covid-related impairments amid expectations for rising bad debts as customers default on loans. It revealed it already had around 1.2 per cent of its credit card customers, some 12,000, that were in arrears by three months or more.
Chief executive David Duffy said at the time: “The Covid-19 outbreak and its impact on the nation’s businesses and consumers has markedly changed the operating environment. Amid the uncertainty, it is clear that the pandemic will have long-lasting and wide-ranging effects on how companies do business and on what customers will expect from the organisations they choose to interact with.”
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