Jobs to go as bank closes West Midlands branches

The Co-operative Bank is set to axe 350 jobs and close 18 branches – including three in the West Midlands.

The banks says the move comes as it tries to reduce costs and have “a right-sized” operating model in place.

The jobs lost will be mainly in middle management and head offices. The three West Midlands branches closing are in Halesowen, Solihull and Walsall.

Co-operative Bank chief executive Andrew Bester said: “Our people have shown great dedication and commitment to our customers over the past few months, so we are very sorry to announce this news today. Unfortunately, we’re not immune to the impact of recent events, with the historically low base rate affecting the income of all banks and a period of prolonged economic uncertainty ahead, which means it’s important we reduce costs and have the right-sized operating model in place for the future.

“At the same time, we are responding to the continuing shift of more and more customers choosing to bank online, with lower levels of transactions in branches, a trend which has been increasing for some time, across the banking sector and more broadly.

“The Bank is in a resilient position given the significant progress we’ve made in recent years, and our focus is on maintaining this as we continue to support our customers through the crisis. We will do all we can to support colleagues through the process with fairness and respect.”

Unite national officer Rob MacGregor said: “Unite is deeply disappointed that The Co-operative Bank has made the decision to cut 350 staff and close 18 bank branches.

“Job losses are always unwelcome, however given the repeated restructuring exercises that this workforce has been through over the past 10 years the news today will be particularly painful.

“During these extremely testing economic times Unite wants all employers to work with the trade union to avoid job losses and protect the livelihoods of our members.

“Unite will continue to press The Co-operative Bank to put strategies in place to secure as many jobs as possible and avoid compulsory redundancies.”

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