Five hundred jobs at risk as Yorkshire Bank confirms it will leave its Leeds HQ

Five hundred members of staff at Yorkshire Bank face an uncertain future after it was announced that it is to close its Leeds headquarters.

By Mark Casci
Tuesday, 24th September 2019, 12:23 pm
Yorkshire Bank's Leeds HQ is to be abandoned
Yorkshire Bank's Leeds HQ is to be abandoned

Yorkshire Bank has today told staff it is to abandon its base on Merrion Way in Leeds city centre, currently home to 700 employees.

Two hundred of those will be relocated to the bank’s flagship branch on Briggate while the remaining 500 will either be redeployed to its hubs in Glasgow and Gosforth or made redundant.

The Yorkshire Post understands that that the roles that will relocated to the Briggate branch will include its financial analytics teams.

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Yorkshire Bank's Leeds HQ is to be abandoned

It expects to have vacated Merrion Way by September of 2021.

More widely 330 full time jobs will be lost at the bank across its operations.

The bank is on track to change its name to Virgin Money in late 2019 following parent company CYBG’s £1.7bn takeover of Virgin Money last year.

CYBG boss David Duffy

David Duffy, CEO said: “The consolidation of our operating centres supports our goal to create a more streamlined and efficient business – focussing on two key operational centres in Glasgow and Newcastle, supported by teams based in Leeds, Edinburgh, Chester and London.

“Detailed planning is in place to ensure that the Bank is able to safely transfer operations to the major hubs over time, while continuing to provide the same great service for our customers every day.

“We recognise that some exit dates are quite far in the future, however, we want to be open with colleagues and give them clarity on changes as soon as possible. They are our key priority and we will support them through this change with as much choice and flexibility as possible.”

In addition to the shake up in Leeds, the wider parent company is to close the Virgin Money’s St Andrew Square office in Edinburgh is expected to close by the end of 2019 – with colleagues relocating to CYBG’s existing office and branch on nearby on George Street. Virgin Money’s flagship St Andrew Square lounge will remain open for customers.

The bank's base on Briggate.

Virgin Money’s Discovery House in Norwich is also expected to close by the end of October 2020, with roles transferring to other locations, with the exception of Virgin Money Giving, which will continue to operate from Norwich, but will eventually move to a new location within the city.

A spokesperson said: "The decision to consolidate our corporate functions from Merrion Way to Briggate will see the Group maintain a strong presence in Leeds, as we continue to make a positive impact to the economy and communities through Yorkshire and the North of England.

"We will be making significant investment in Leeds, retaining specialist analytical, financial and operational skills through the relocation to our Briggate offices, as well as investing further in our flagship store in Leeds over the next couple of years as we transition to the Virgin Money brand, ensuring customers have access both to market leading digital services and expert advice and support.

"More broadly, we will also continue to play a key role in supporting the Northern Powerhouse as we transform our network and support SMEs across the North."

Yorkshire Bank has been based at Merrion Way since 1981, with the offices officially opened by the Duchess of Kent.

The building itself was sold in 2016 by CBRE Global Investors to a private Spanish investor for £16 million.

Unite national officer Rob MacGregor said: “Unite is deeply alarmed that as CYBG and Virgin Money approach formal integration the business has decided to cut 330 roles and close a number of sites.“The integration which is due to take place in October 2019 will clearly require some restructuring within the two existing businesses. Nonetheless, the scale of job losses and site closures announced today will come as a shock to colleagues. The personal cost of these plans will be major for staff. Unite is concerned that there are likely be further job losses.“Unite is now actively supporting members and colleagues through this time of uncertainty and is meeting with the bank to press for mitigation of these job losses. The union will be working hard to press for redeployment of impacted colleagues wherever possible.“Unite workplace representatives will be supporting members over the coming days and weeks across the sites.”