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News : Jobs Under Threat as Co-operative Bank Announces Redundancies
Nov 7, 2013 -- Hundreds of staff at the Co-operative Bank’s Skelmersdale call centre face an uncertain future after it confirmed a restructure that could lead to "significant" job losses.
The Co-operative group confirmed it was to hand control of its troubled banking arm to a group of investors under a new rescue plan. The bank needs to plug a hole in its finances caused by the purchase of the Britannia Building Society and by its failed plans to buy hundreds of Lloyds Bank branches.
But 50 of the group’s 324 branches will close as the bank bids to cut costs. It also plans to restructure its call centre network and invest in digital and self-service banking.
Co-op Group chief executive Euan Sutherland said there would be "significant" job losses.
The bank employs 865 people at its Skelmersdale office, which houses a large call centre as well as some group IT services.
A bank spokesman told The Advertiser no decision has yet been made on which branches or call centres would be affected.
He said: "When we’re in a position to know, we’ll tell colleagues first."
In response to the Co-operative Bank's announcement, West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:"The Co-operative Bank is a major employer here in West Lancashire with its offices in Skelmersdale. "I understand how this is an uncertain time for the bank’s staff and their families.
"I have already been in contact with the bank to raise my concerns and will keep in touch with them. "I have also formally written to the chief executive to seek further information about the future of their Skelmersdale operations."
The group insisted that the bank’s values and ethics would be "legally embedded" in its new rules.
The bank is shifting its focus towards lending to households and to small and medium-sized businesses as it looks to the future.
Niall Booker, chief executive of Co-operative Bank, said: "The bank has already taken a number of steps to address the challenges it faces. It is clear, however, that there is a significant task ahead; we are only in the very early stages of turning the business around.
"The legacy issues we are working hard to overcome will continue to have an impact on the bank for some time. "With a strengthened management team, and a clear direction, we are confident we will become a stronger bank in line with the Co-operative values."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About Co-operative Banking Group:
Co-operative Banking Group Limited is a UK-based banking and insurance company and a wholly owned subsidiary of Co-operative Group. Established in 2002; head office is located at the former CIS Tower known as Miller Street, Manchester.
Published: Friday, November 8, 2013