Clydesdale and Yorkshire to close 26 branches

Newly independent Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank (CYBG) is to close 26 bank branches — nine Clydesdale and 17 Yorkshire — to  “reflect the changing needs of customers” as the company focuses on investment in its mobile and online platforms and extends Saturday opening hours.

CYBG’s share price rose about 1%.

The demerger of Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank from former parent National Australia Bank was recently completed and CYBG trades on the stock market as an independent company with a market value of more than £1.8 billion.

Clydesdale branches at Bishopbriggs, Blantyre, Cardonald, Bridge of Weir, Coatbridge, Lanark, Prestwick Main Street, Hawick and Tain will be closed.

“Today’s announcement reflects the changing needs of customers who want to access more day-to-day banking services quickly, on the move and outside normal business hours,” said Clydesdale in a statement.

“The bank has already announced that it will launch a new banking service for tablets and smartphones this Spring called ‘B’.

“B has the added support of access to the banks’ branch network, underlining the continued importance of branches in the overall ‘omni-channel’ strategy for supporting customers.

“The changes to the branch network will ensure it continues to deliver a sustainable service when and where there is greatest demand.”

Clydesdale said Saturday opening hours will now extend from 9.15am-1.15pm to 9.15am- 4.00pm and that an additional 13 branches in Scotland will open on Saturdays by the end of the year.

It said the 35 Clydesdale branches which will be open on Saturdays will create nearly 8,000 extra hours of weekend service for customers in Scotland each year.

Clydesdale said investment in branch technology will continue with 100 additional ATMs across the UK and more branch refurbishments including Falkirk, Dundee and Dumfries.

It said 26 “unsustainable and lapsed-lease branches around the UK will close this year, nine of which are in Scotland.”

The bank said that wherever possible, frontline branch staff will be found roles either within other branches or elsewhere in the company.

“I understand this will not be welcome news for those who use these particular branches,” said Steve Fletcher, head of customer banking networks, Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank.

“These are difficult decisions but ones we must face as we try to keep up with the pace of change in the way people want to bank.

“We have to balance our investment to ensure we support demand where it is greatest, across mobile, online and branch services.

“Branches remain vitally important to us, and we continue to invest in them, the services they offer and when we offer them.

“I hope that the investment we’re making in the overall quality of our branch network, the big increase in Saturday opening and the availability of other ways to bank, like local Post Office counters, will minimise the effect of this announcement for customers.”