The Co-operative Bank announced plans on Tuesday to axe 350 jobs and permanently close 18 branches amid the pandemic.
Due to the economic uncertainty and low-interest rates, the lender has become the latest group to cut jobs as part of cost-cutting schemes.
“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,” said Andrew Bester, the group’s chief executive.
“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,” he added.
It is not clear which banks will be closed, however, Co-op Bank has confirmed they will be closed before the end of the year.
The national officer at the Unite union, Rob MacGregor, said of the job losses:
“Unite is deeply disappointed that The Co-operative Bank has made the decision to cut 350 staff and close 18 bank branches. Job losses are always unwelcome, however given the repeated restructuring exercises that this workforce has been through over the past 10 years the news today will be particularly painful.”
High-street lender NatWest said earlier this month that it plans to cut 550 jobs. The group said in a statement: “We have to respond to changing customer behaviour and the rising customer demand for digital banking services.”