Luton: Britannia Bank To Go

The Co-Op says it's rebranding all it's Britannia branches and closing the Luton branch.

Britannia Banks in St.Albans and Berkhamstead will remain open, but under the Co-Op banner.

Branches are being shut where there is another close by - on average within half a mile and in some cases next door to each other - as part of an overhaul following its merger with Britannia building society in 2009.

But the group stressed a presence will be kept in towns and cities where branches are being closed.

The move will lead to 34 job losses, largely at a managerial level, while the bulk of the 188 staff employed across affected banks are being relocated to neighbouring branches.

John Hughes, managing director of retail banking at The Co-operative Bank, confirmed the group will rebrand all Britannia branches under the Co-operative Bank banner by the end of 2013, marking the end of the society's history that dates back to 1856.

The Co-op will have just over 300 branches following the closures, but it is poised to buy more than 630 that are being offloaded by Lloyds Banking Group to appease EU rules on state aid.

Its deal with Lloyds is worth up to £750m and will boost its branch network to nearly 1,000, adding another 4.8 million customers to its existing 6.5 million base.

The group has cut around £70m in costs following the Britannia merger in August 2009 and had originally planned a three-year integration to combine the businesses.

But Mr Hughes said the Co-op had sought to ensure a "staged and measured" integration following the deal.

The Luton branch of the Britannia will also close.

The Britannia banks in George Street in Luton, St Peters Street in St Albans and Berkhamsted High Street will all be rebranded as The Co-Operative Bank.

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