Co-op Bank to cut 350 jobs, close 18 branches

Manchester-based Co-operative Bank plc on Tuesday announced proposals to cut around 350 jobs and close 18 branches.

“Aside from the specific branches affected, the reduction is expected to focus on middle management positions and head office roles,” said Co-op Bank.

“The bank has spoken to affected colleagues and is currently consulting with colleagues and its recognised trades union on the proposals.

“Where possible, the bank will look to redeploy colleagues into alternative posts.”

On July 30, Co-operative Bank said it made a statutory loss before tax of £44.6 million in the six months ended June 30, 2020, compared to a loss of £38.5 million for the same period of 2019. 

The bank took an impairment charge of £11.2 million “primarily due to the impacts COVID-19.”

Total income fell to £148.4 million from £191 million.

The self-styled “ethical bank” continues to recover from a number of scandals in recent years that resulted in a rescue by a group of hedge funds.

Co-operative Bank CEO Andrew Bester said: “Our people have shown great dedication and commitment to our customers over the past few months, so we are very sorry to announce this news today.

“Unfortunately, we’re not immune to the impact of recent events, with the historically low base rate affecting the income of all banks and a period of prolonged economic uncertainty ahead, which means it’s important we reduce costs and have the right-sized operating model in place for the future.

“At the same time, we are responding to the continuing shift of more and more customers choosing to bank online, with lower levels of transactions in branches, a trend which has been increasing for some time, across the banking sector and more broadly.

“The bank is in a resilient position given the significant progress we’ve made in recent years, and our focus is on maintaining this as we continue to support our customers through the crisis.

“We will do all we can to support colleagues through the process with fairness and respect.”

The planned branch closures, expected to be completed by December 1, 2020, have been selected following careful analysis of individual branch footfall over a 12-month period (January-December 2019) prior to the start of lockdown.

The 18 branches proposed for closure are:

  • Ashton
  • Bradford
  • Cambridge
  • Chatham
  • Chester
  • Chichester
  • City of London
  • Dartford
  • Halesowen
  • Harrogate
  • Luton
  • Oxford
  • Rotherham
  • Solihull
  • Truro
  • Wakefield
  • Walsall
  • York