330 jobs to be cut as part of major banking merger

Hundreds of jobs are set to be cut at Clydesdale and Yorkshire bank as part of the Virgin Money takeover, which was announced last year.

In a statement today, the company confirmed 330 job cuts and site closures in Leeds, Edinburgh and Norwich.

Yorkshire Bank’s Merrion Way office in Leeds is expected to close by September 2021, with the group consolidating its functional corporate office into its flagship store and corporate office on Briggate in Leeds City Centre, which will over time transition to the Virgin Money brand.

The announcement comes as the merger with Virgin Money in a £1.7bn deal progresses. Yorkshire Bank, part of the listed CYBG company, has its headquarters in Leeds.

CYBG said the cuts were part of the forecast reduction of 16% of full-time roles across the combined Group.

It said the announcement was part of the next stage of the bank’s integration programme “as it brings together the operations of Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank with Virgin Money and transitions towards using the single Virgin Money brand by 2021.”

The listed firm added: “CYBG is today announcing plans to rationalise the Group’s corporate property portfolio over the next two years – focussing the Group’s key corporate locations in Glasgow and Gosforth. While CYBG will maintain a strong presence in Edinburgh, Leeds and Norwich, the Group plans to exit some existing functional offices in those cities, transferring some roles into other sites.

David Duffy, CEO said: “The consolidation of our operating centres supports our goal to create a more streamlined and efficient business – focussing on two key operational centres in Glasgow and Newcastle, supported by teams based in Leeds, Edinburgh, Chester and London.

“Detailed planning is in place to ensure that the Bank is able to safely transfer operations to the major hubs over time, while continuing to provide the same great service for our customers every day.

“We recognise that some exit dates are quite far in the future, however, we want to be open with colleagues and give them clarity on changes as soon as possible. They are our key priority and we will support them through this change with as much choice and flexibility as possible.”

CYBG added that there would be other role reductions across the wider company as part of the planned Virgin Money integration process. “These changes are designed to simplify structures, reduce duplication and clarify accountabilities across business areas,” said CYBG.

The impacted teams include Brand & Marketing, Retail Distribution, Chief Operating Office, Risk and Mortgages; where the bank is moving to the Virgin Money operating model of providing mortgage advice by telephone and online, in line with the growing trend in the market for telephone appointments and online mortgage applications.

“As a result of the changes above, a number of roles are at risk of redundancy and colleagues will be supported through the Bank’s redeployment process, with the aim of minimising compulsory redundancies wherever possible,” said CYBG.

It said that role reductions did not include the planned closure of Yorkshire Bank’s Merrion Way office in 2021. CYBG said: “The Group will use the following two years to work through the impact of the changes in Leeds, including transfer and redeployment options for employees currently based in Merrion Way.”

Unite national officer Rob MacGregor reacted to the news, adding: “Unite is deeply alarmed that as CYBG and Virgin Money approach formal integration the business has decided to cut 330 roles and close a number of sites.

“The integration which is due to take place in October 2019 will clearly require some restructuring within the two existing businesses. Nonetheless, the scale of job losses and site closures announced today will come as a shock to colleagues. The personal cost of these plans will be major for staff.  Unite is concerned that there are likely be further job losses.

“Unite is now actively supporting members and colleagues through this time of uncertainty and is meeting with the bank to press for mitigation of these job losses. The union will be working hard to press for redeployment of impacted colleagues wherever possible.

“Unite workplace representatives will be supporting members over the coming days and weeks across the sites.”