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18 January 2017, 17:42
Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank is to close 79 branches with the loss of more than 400 jobs, according to Unite.
It is the largest-ever closure plan by the company and will radically change the face of the bank, according to Unite.
National officer Rob MacGregor said: "Staff across the Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank will be devastated to learn that 79 branches will close and consequently over 400 colleagues will lose their jobs.
"Unite is clear that the closure of a third of the bank's branches will not only be concerning for staff but the local communities which will see their bank branch close.
"This cost-cutting plan leaves customers with less choice for local banking.
"The union has called on the bank to give a commitment to mitigate compulsory redundancies where possible and that they will reconsider closing any bank branches that are the last bank in a town.
"Unite workplace representatives will be able to assist members over the coming day and weeks to support staff impacted by this announcement.''
Clydesdale said, since 2011, the number of customers using their bank for day-to-day transactions across the banking industry in the UK has fallen by a third.
A statement said: "This ongoing decline in branch usage, married to a sharp and sustained increase in digital and mobile engagement, has driven a shift to providing greater access to day-to-day banking services remotely, on the move and outside of normal business hours.
"The Bank continues to reshape its service offering in response to these changing needs.
"To support this transformation the Bank is committing £350 million over the next two years, embracing digital innovation while continuing to invest in a more sustainable branch network to deliver a superior customer experience.
"The Bank's first priority is to our customers and we will be working extensively with impacted customers, local communities and relevant stakeholders to ensure that the transition to their new branch is as smooth and as sensitive as possible, particularly where vulnerable customers are concerned.
"It is also the Bank's intention to try to find roles for frontline branch staff either within other branches or elsewhere in the Bank, wherever possible.
"However, there will inevitably be employee number reductions as a result of these changes.
"We anticipate that around 200 Clydesdale Bank staff will be at risk of redundancy and subject to our redeployment process.
"All employees affected by these changes will be fully supported through the process.''
Gavin Opperman, customer banking director, Clydesdale Bank, said: "While the decision to close any branch is never an easy one, it is important that we, in line with other banks operating in the UK market, continue to respond to changes in the way customers want to bank with us.
"The changes announced today continue our journey towards a model that combines an enhanced digital platform with a right sized branch network; allowing customers to interact with us through a wide range of channels - mobile, online, telephone, in-branch - whenever and however they want.''