Co-op Bank to close 18 branches

The Co-operative Bank has announced plans to cut around 350 jobs and close 18 branches across the country.

The high street bank said that the move was necessary due to the current economic uncertainty and the shift to online banking.

As well as jobs lost due to the branch closures, the cuts include middle management and head office roles.

The bank said that, where possible, it would look to redeploy colleagues into alternative posts.

Expressing regret over the news, Co-operative Bank chief executive Andrew Bester said: “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.”

Bester added that the bank is in a “resilient position” after making progress in recent years, and its focus is on maintaining this and supporting customers through the crisis.

The branches set for closure are those in Ashton, Bradford, Cambridge, Chatham, Chester, Chichester, City of London, Dartford, Halesowen, Harrogate, Luton, Oxford, Rotherham, Solihull, Truro, Wakefield, Walsall and York.