February 27, 2020 @ 15:59 by Richard Dawson
Virgin Money is expected to cut up to 500 jobs after the business announced integration plans that will see 22 branches close across the UK, including two outlets in the North East of England.
In addition to the closures, CYBG, which took over the bank in 2018, is planning to consolidate a further 30 branches to nearby locations, including branches in Newcastle.
The bank has stated that the majority of job losses would be from head offices, but around 215 jobs will still be cut from its branches.
The bank, which recently merged the former Virgin Money, Yorkshire and Clydesdale brands, is consolidating its operations in 2020, and all three parts of the business are set to start using the Virgin Money brand from 2021.
At the time of the merger, CYBG warned that around 16% of the combined workforce would be cut as part of plans to restructure the business, amounting to a total loss of 1,500 jobs across the group.
The bank is to close Virgin Money branches at Gateshead, South Shields and Giffnock, while Clydesdale will close sites at Crieff, Dingwall, Dumbarton, Dyce, Edinburgh and Wishaw.
There will also be Yorkshire Bank closures across the north in Birkenhead, Bridlington, Brighouse, Cannock, Gloucester, Leeds, Morley, Pontefract, Sheffield, Warrington, Wombwell and Worksop.
The bank also plans to consolidate branches at a number of locations, affecting sites in Hull, Sunderland, Carlisle, Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, and Newcastle.
Lucy Dimes, group business transformation officer for the bank, 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.
“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.
“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.”
The branches will begin to close in late May, and while Virgin Money has offered assurances that it will try to find alternative roles for staff within the group, it said a number redundancies will be unavoidable.
Customers will be given written notice at least 12 weeks before any branch closures.
Last year, Virgin Money announced that its corporate offices will be based in two major hubs in Gosforth and Glasgow, supported by regional presences in Chester, Edinburgh, Leeds and London.
At the time it announced plans to create a 200-job digital disruption hub in Newcastle, although it is not known if this will be affected by the closures.