Bank warns of more job cuts and reveals Virgin Money rebrand within two years

By Holly Williams, Press Association Deputy City Editor
CYBG said the Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank brands will go by the end of 2021.

Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank owner CYBG warned of further potential job cuts as it hiked cost savings from the Virgin Money takeover and revealed plans to call time on its 175-year-old brands within two years.

The group said it was rolling out further automation within its branches and operations under plans to increase annual cost savings by another £50 million to £200 million by 2022.

CYBG warned that the extra cost savings could lead to further potential job losses on top of around 1,500 already set to go as a result of the Virgin Money deal.

It came as CYBG also said it will fire the starting gun on its rebrand to Virgin Money this year, starting with digital banking arm B, which will complete by next June.

This will be rolled out to Yorkshire Bank in 2019 and Clydesdale in 2020, with the entire business rebranded as Virgin Money by the end of 2021.

The wider CYBG holding company will change its name to Virgin Money by the end of this year.

On the cost savings, a spokesman said the additional £50 million is likely to come from a further push towards automation and its technology transformation.

He said: “It might include some further role reductions and automation in the branch network and other operational areas.

“We will continue to work through the details and will inform our colleagues first of any implications.”

The group has already warned that around 16% of the combined workforce – about 1,500 jobs – will go following the Virgin Money deal, although some of these are expected to be lost through natural staff turnover.

It has so far said around a dozen of branches will close, but is planning to roll out more automation and self-service machines in its network.

CYBG boss David Duffy said the decision to axe the Clydesdale and Yorkshire bank brands was “not an easy one”.

It will bring to an end more than 175 years of the Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank brands in Scotland and the North of England.

Mr Duffy said: “Both brands are a by-word for reliability and trust and we understand the emotional attachment customers and local communities have towards them.

“The decision to retire brand names with such long and proud histories is not an easy one.”

He added: “Marrying the values and expertise of these heritage brands with the Virgin Money brand will allow us to realise efficiencies and grow our business throughout the UK.”

Ahead of an investor event on Wednesday, CYBG also outlined aims to boost its share of the personal current account market from around 2.5% to 3.5% – with the first full Virgin Money offering launching later this year.

The group – which was catapulted into sixth place in the lending market after its Virgin Money acquisition last October – will launch the first ever Virgin Money business current account by summer 2020 and is looking to increase it market share from about 3.5% to around 5%.

Mr Duffy said: “Despite the ongoing Brexit headwinds and continued competitive pressures, the strength of the combination gives us every confidence we will deliver on our targets.”