Virgin Money compounded a day of jobs gloom for the UK financial sector as it revealed 500 posts would be cut and 22 branches closed, six of them Clydesdale Bank.
The announcement followed earlier announcements that Lloyds Banking Group would shed 780 jobs and insurer Direct Line 800. On Tuesday, HSBC said it would be closing 27 of its UK sites.
Virgin Money said it would consolidate 30 branches where the group’s different brands were located close to one another. Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank owner CYBG took over Virgin Money for £1.7 billion in 2018 and will have rebranded all operations under the latter name by 2021.
The move means 215 jobs will be lost from the group’s branches, with the rest at its main offices in Glasgow, Newcastle and Leeds.
At the time of the merger, the firm warned that around 16% of the combined workforce would be cut, losing 1,500 jobs across the group but that the bulk of them would be in senior management positions.
Virgin Money said the branch closures would allow the bank to ensure it has a network that is “fit for the future” and reflects how customers want to use its services.
Lucy Dimes, group business transformation officer, said: “The decision to close branches is never taken lightly.
“The changes announced today 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.”
The number of customers who want to use branches has been falling, Virgin said, and around 280,000 cheques were deposited by the bank’s mobile phone app rather than in branches last year.
The stores will start to close in late May. They include six Clydesdale Bank branches, 12 Yorkshire Bank sites, and four Virgin Money banks.
Dimes added: “Following the unveiling of three new Virgin Money stores in December last year, the full rebrand of our national network of 166 stores begins in April and will be completed by September this year.”
Virgin Money is looking for a new chairman as Scottish City veteran Jim Pettigrew is to step down from the role in September 2021 after nine years on the board.