Virgin Money restarts branch closure and job cuts plans

High street lender Virgin Money has said it is resuming its plans to shut or merge 52 branches and axe 300 jobs after putting the overhaul on hold amid the coronavirus crisis.

But the group said the immediate job cuts are 200 fewer than those previously announced due to changes made in response to Covid-19.

It will also offer staff affected by branch closures the option to remain with the group until October 20 to help offer support to vulnerable customers.

Virgin Money will restart its shake-up in August, shutting 22 branches and merging 30 more into nearby sites, as well as rebranding all Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank branches under the Virgin Money banner.

It is aiming to have all branches rebranded by the end of January next year.

Lucy Dimes, group business transformation officer at Virgin Money UK, said: “While the decision to recommence these redundancies and branch closures has not been taken lightly, we are committed to integrating Virgin Money under one brand as a sustainable, innovative business that invests in improving its customer offer for the future.

“The measures we’ve put in place during the lockdown will continue, to help customers engage with alternative and improved ways of banking with us.”

The group – formerly known as CYBG – announced plans in February to axe 500 full-time equivalent roles, including 215 in its branches.

In its update on the plans, it said it had been able to reduce the number of head office roles being cut due to more staff working from home, while it is also keeping more business banking contact centre employees to help small firms amid the crisis.

But it is sticking to overall aims to slash around 16% of its combined workforce – some 1,500 jobs – following CYBG’s £1.7 billion takeover of Virgin Money in 2018.

HSBC also recently lifted the freeze on its redundancy programme to cut around 35,000 jobs worldwide.

A number of banks had paused redundancy plans amid the crisis, with Lloyds Banking Group also among those to temporarily halt job cuts.

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