Jobs face axe as city centre relocation is on the cards for banking ‘one-stop shop’

A Bradford banking centre which has played a key role in boosting lending to local businesses has escaped the axe – but is to be relocated into the city centre as part of cutbacks by its parent group.

Yorkshire Bank’s West Yorkshire Financial Solutions Centre on Canal Road is to be relocated into the branch on Broadway. The FSC, which covers Bradford, Craven, Kirklees and Calderdale offers a ‘one-stop shop’ for corporate banking, private wealth management, treasury services and credit and employs more than 40 specialist staff, headed by managing partner Andy Davidson.

The move is part of cuts at the Yorkshire and Clydesdale banks, which form the UK divisions of National Australia Bank. The axe will fall on around 300 jobs in Yorkshire out of a total 1,400 UK job losses by September 2015. The cuts follow a strategic review of the UK business by NAB and include the closure of 29 out of 73 Financial Solutions Centres, mainly in the South of England. Job cuts will total about 17 per cent of the Yorkshire and Clydesdale workforces.

NAB blamed deteriorating economic and operating conditions, particularly in the commercial property market, for its decision.

David Thorburn, Yorkshire and Clydesdale chief executive, said: “Simplifying our business model and focusing on our strengths in Scotland and the North of England are key to ensuring that Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks deliver improved returns.

“It is clear that we must adapt to the exceptionally challenging economic environment we are operating in.

“While the vast majority of our customers will be unaffected by the changes, unfortunately we do need to streamline the business and lose jobs. I don’t underestimate the impact of this on the employees affected, but our half year results clearly demonstrate why we need to act.”

The announcement came as the banks racked up a £25 million loss in the six months to the end of March, compared with a £77 million profit in the previous year, reflecting a higher charge on bad debts and higher funding costs.

But Unite national officer David Fleming said the announcement was “nothing short of brutal” for the UK workforce. He said: “Unite finds it disgusting that the company decided to release a statement from Australia in the middle of the night so UK staff across Yorkshire and Clydesdale banks would wake up to hear that their jobs are being cut through the morning news reports.”

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