Virgin Money to close a third of stores

Virgin Money UK has told staff today that 39 bank branches will close before the end of the year, resulting in 260 job losses.

The announcement comes after the bank saw an average reduction in customer transactions of 43% since March 2020 and 96% of customers in these stores are transacting less than once a month on average.

It leaves 91 stores in operation across the UK.

For the West Midlands, the bank’s Wolverhampton store will be closing on October 18.

It says it decided to close its Wolverhampton branch as only 3% of personal customers and 7% of business customers visited the store more than ten times in the last year.

In addition, it cites that footfall has decreased as up to 69% of customers are digitally active. The lease on the Wolverhampton branch is also up for renewal.

Unite General Secretary, Sharon Graham said: ““This announcement of the closure of 39 vital bank branches has sent shock waves across the Virgin Money UK workforce. Today 260 skilled and experienced staff have learnt that they risk losing their livelihoods at a time of deep economic uncertainty for all workers.

“While the financial services sector is acquiring eye watering profits, they must start taking their responsibilities to customers and communities more seriously. Access to a bank and cash is a fundamental need for all our local high streets. Simply walking away from the consumers who bring the banks astronomical profits is a complete disgrace.”

“Unite is working hard across all locations to support its members as they digest the implications of this awful news.”

Sarah Wilkinson, chief operating officer at Virgin Money, said: “The decision to close a store is never taken lightly. But as our customers continue to change the way they want to bank with us, by conducting fewer transactions in-store and adopting the convenience of digital banking, we must respond to that evolving demand.

“Our focus is on supporting our customers and colleagues. We have considered the number of vulnerable customers using each store very carefully throughout the review process as a key factor in our decision making, and will proactively provide enhanced, bespoke care to ensure any vulnerable customers affected are supported through the changes.

“For our colleagues, we will pursue all options to retain as many as possible within alternative roles, and have had great success previously with store colleagues moving to other customer operations roles, as their skills are highly transferable.”