The Co-op today revealed proposals to close 50 bank branches as part of a rescue plan that could see nearly a thousand jobs axed.
The move means the group will reduce its branch network by at least 15 per cent before the end of next year with warnings of big staff cuts in the cull.
Reports have suggested that more than 10 per cent of the bank’s 9,000-strong workforce could lose their jobs, with the brunt of the redundancies expected across its corporate lending business.
However, the bank has not yet revealed the extent of the job losses, as it says the final figure is still being decided.
The move comes as the troubled bank is handed over to a group of powerful investors in a bid to get it back on steady ground after a £1.5 billion hole was discovered in its balance sheet.
The bank said it would ‘significantly enhance’ its digital and self-service channels as a result.
The details were unveiled as the bank revealed its rescue plan finalised over the weekend.
The deal will see creditors to the group – led by half a dozen hedge funds – end up with 70 per cent of shares in the bank, leaving Co-op Group with 30 per cent.
“We have taken a major step forward towards achieving our plan to secure the future of the Bank,” said group chief executive Euan Sutherland.
“We are optimistic about the future,” Mr Sutherland added.
The bank has 324 branches nationwide including sites in Wolverhampton city centre, The Bridge in Walsall, High Street in Blackheath, Colmore Row in Birmingham and Stafford’s Greengate Street.
Meanwhile, the Britannia Building Society which is also owned by the group, includes branches in West Bromwich High Street, Hagley Street in Halesowen, Market Street in Lichfield, Birmingham’s New Street, and Vicar Street in Kidderminster.
The Co-op Bank’s 2009 takeover of the Staffordshire-based Britannia played a major role in the current crisis.
More than half of the £1.5 billion black hole is down to the former Leek-based building society’s risky commercial property loans.