Virgin Money has announced plans to close 31 branches following more customers switching to online banking throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
Virgin Money stated the branches to close were decided by their location, usage, proximity to alternative stores and lease arrangements.
Which stores will close?
Twenty eight of the 30 customer stores to close are located less than a third of a mile away from the nearest post office and two have a post office less than a mile away or another Virgin Money store nearby.
The remaining store, Gosford, was already a staff-only site and will close its doors.
The sites set to close are:
- Newcastle, Northumberland St
- Leeds, Horsforth
- Leeds, White Rose
- Broughty Ferry
- Sheffield, Meadowhall
- East Kilbride, Princes Square
What about the employees?
Bosses have said they hope to find alternative roles for the affected staff as 131 Virgin Money branches will still remain.
However, the company admitted not all employees will be able to stay with around 112 full-time roles expected to go.
What has been said?
Fergus Murphy, group customer experience director at Virgin Money highlights the changing banking habits of customers as a cause for the closure of some branches.
He said: “As our customers change the way they want to bank with us and conduct fewer transactions in-store, we must continue to evolve the role of our stores into places where we showcase our products and bring our digital services to life.”
What does it mean for customers?
Despite an increase in online banking, some customers will be affected by the closure of Virgin Money’s branches.
The closures have sparked “serious concerns” over the impact on communities and vulnerable customers after swathes have shut across the banking sector.
Debbie Hutchings, Unite industrial officer, said: “Unite has serious concerns about the implications this branch closure decision has on staff and also the communities they currently serve.”
There are worries access to cash and banking services will be out of reach for many communities.
What other branches have closed?
Lloyds Banking Group, Sabadell-owned TSB and the Co-operative Bank have all shut branches since the start of the pandemic.
Three months ago Lloyds announced another 44 would go across its Lloyds and Halifax brands. Unions called it a “bitter blow” to staff and customers.
Ms Hutchings commented: “The union is worried that there are approximately 24,000 customers based across these branches that are classed as vulnerable, all of whom will need to be directly contacted by the branch colleagues.
“This is a massive undertaking on an already pressurised network.”
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