500 job losses and seven bank branches to close across Yorkshire

Yorkshire Bank owner Virgin Money UK has announced the next stage of the Group’s integration programme as it unites the operations of Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank with Virgin Money and moves towards using the single Virgin Money brand across the business by 2021.

It includes plans to close seven branches and consolidate a further four branches across Yorkshire, and the removal or relocation of some roles as part of the integration announced during the acquisition of Virgin Money by CYBG – the former name of Virgin Money UK – in 2018.

The rebrand will accelerate from April, with every branch updated to the new Virgin Money store identity and upgraded so it can support Virgin Money, Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank customers by October 2020.

At the same time, changes will be made to the network to remove duplicate locations where Virgin Money stores are located close to Clydesdale or Yorkshire Bank branches – alternative stores will be under 0.5 miles away.

As a result, 30 branches across the UK will be consolidated into nearby locations, all rebranded as Virgin Money stores.

The Yorkshire branches which will close are: Bridlington, Brighouse, Leeds – Harehills Lane, Leeds – Morley, Pontefract, Sheffield – Chapeltown, Wombwell. Branches in Yorkshire to be consolidated are: Hull – Central, Sheffield – Fargate, Leeds, York.

A Virgin Money UK spokesman said: “There will also be some additional closures to ensure Virgin Money has a national network fit for the future that reflects how customers wish to bank.

“Statistics show the number of customers using bank branches for day-to-day transactions across the UK banking industry has been on a downward trend for a number of years.

“For example, developments in technology means that around 280,000 cheques were paid into accounts in 2019 via the mobile app rather than in branches. To reflect this consumer behaviour, 22 branches will be closed between May and September 2020, resulting in Virgin Money having a national network of 166 stores.”

Lucy Dimes, group business transformation officer at Virgin Money UK, said: “The decision to close branches is never taken lightly. The changes are focused on consolidating branches where there is another Clydesdale Bank / Yorkshire Bank / Virgin Money location within half a mile as well as closing a number of branches to reflect changes to customer demand.

“As our customers change the way they want to bank with us, we are evolving the role of our stores – investing in all of the ways that customers are choosing to bank with us, including a reimagined Virgin Money presence on the high street.”

Branches will begin to close in late May 2020 and Virgin Money says it intends to find alternative roles for colleagues either within other stores locally or elsewhere in the Group, wherever possible. However, a number of staff will be at risk of redundancy.

Virgin Money UK has also provided an update on a number of other role reductions across the wider company as part of the integration process.

These changes are designed to simplify structures, reduce duplication and clarify accountabilities across business areas.  Changes will impact teams based across the UK in Business Banking, Risk, Finance, Chief Operating Office and Chief Information Office.

The spokesman added: “As a result of the changes above, a number of roles are at risk of redundancy and colleagues will be supported through the Group’s redeployment process, with the aim of securing other internal opportunities and minimising compulsory redundancies wherever possible.

“A reduction of around 500 Full Time Equivalent roles across the Group is anticipated as a result of these changes, with a significant proportion of this reduction expected to come from head office locations.

“A reduction of up to 140 roles in the Merrion Way office is expected at this stage as we integrate the businesses and continue to remove duplication.”