Leeds Virgin Money bank closures: Horsforth and White Rose centre branches to permanently close
Virgin Money is set to close two bank branches in Leeds.
The branch in Town Street, Horsforth, is set to close permanently at 2pm on 21 January 2022.
The branch inside the White Rose Shopping Centre, in Beeston, will also close permanently.
It will shut its doors for good at 2pm on 28 January 2022.
Four Virgin Money stores in Leeds will remain open. These branches are in Leeds city centre, Hunslet, Moortown and Cross Gates.
Across the country, Virgin Money has announced plans to close 31 stores in total.
This will lead to the loss of around 112 jobs.
Bosses said the move comes as more customers switched to online banking during the pandemic.
They said the number of customers using bank branches for day-to-day transactions has been on a downward trajectory across the UK banking industry for a number of years, and this has been further accelerated by the pandemic.
Virgin Money added the decision on each site was based on location, usage, proximity to alternative stores and lease arrangements.
The company said 28 of the 30 customer stores closing are located less than a third of a mile away from the nearest post office and the final two sites had a post office less than a mile away or another Virgin Money store nearby.
A further site in Gosforth was already a staff-only site and this will also close.
The customer stores will shut their doors for the final time in early 2022 and bosses said they hope to find alternative roles for affected staff.
A total of 131 branches will remain.
But the company admitted not all workers will be able to stay, with around 112 full-time equivalent roles expected to go.
Fergus Murphy, group customer experience director at Virgin Money, 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.”
Unite the union has reacted with anger over the proposed closure of 31 branches across the UK with Scotland being ‘disproportionately’ hit.
The trade union has warned that the ‘axe will fall the hardest’ in Scotland as remote island and rural communities, and town centres are set to be ‘left behind’ by Virgin Money.
Debbie Hutchings, Unite industrial officer, said: “The proposed closure of twelve Virgin Money branches across Scotland is not only shameful but bizarre as the group has just about completed the rebranding exercise of the former Clydesdale branches.”
“The announcement will disproportionately impact on workers and communities across Scotland, and it is here where the Virgin Group axe will fall the hardest. Island communities from Portree to rural towns such as Wick are going to be left behind by Virgin Money. Our nation’s town centres from Cumbernauld to Musselburgh will be further hollowed out as fewer people will come into town if there is no bank branch. This will directly hit the businesses that remain on the high street.”
“The Virgin Money Group claim the principal reason for the closures is down to its digital banking drive. However, what happens to the people in our Island and Highland communities where internet reception is notoriously poor not to mention the difficulties which many people have in using mobile app technology.”
“The Virgin Group has abandoned all social responsibility with these proposed closures, and they are completely disregarding the damaging effects that these closures will have on thousands of customers. We are calling on politicians in the areas affected to work with us to save these branches, and Unite will be raising this as a matter of urgency with the Scottish Government.”
Caren Evans, Unite national officer, said: “The announcement of the closure of a further 31 branches will be devastating for the Virgin Money workforce. This will impact some 277 staff roles across the country and thousands of customers.”
“Colleagues in the branch network breathed a collective sigh of relief when previous CY branches were rebranded under the Virgin Money brand. It was admirable that staff rolled their sleeves up and ‘just got on with it’ despite the daily challenges brought with dual heritage policies and processes. Staff worked tirelessly through a global pandemic, supporting each other and loyal customers. Many put themselves at risk every day in order to keep the branches open. The announcement today comes as a betrayal to all employees who have kept this bank going.”
“Unite has serious concerns about the implications this branch closure decision has on staff and also the communities they currently serve. 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.”
The full list of sites earmarked for closure:
– Sheffield, Meadowhall;
– Newcastle, Northumberland St;
– Broughty Ferry;
– East Kilbride, Princes Square;