Bank closure plans put jobs at risk in Peterborough

Staff at a Peterborough bank are facing redundancy after the Co-operative Bank announced it is to close a city centre branch.

Thursday, 18th January 2018, 1:20 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th January 2018, 1:27 pm
The Co-operative Bank in Westgate, Peterborough, which has been earmarked for closure in April.

The Co-operative Bank says it will shut its branch at 33 Westgate, in Peterborough, on April 19, 2018.

It means seven staff are at risk of redundancy but managers say they hope to offer alternative employment where possible.

The bank is currently consulting with staff and trade unions about the impending closure.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Bosses have also written to customers to inform them of the proposal.

They say the bank is within a mile of a Post Office branch where most daily transactions can be carried out.

It is the latest in a string of branch closures across the Peterborough area as the financial institutions say more customers opt to bank online with fewer using the high street branches.

The closure comes after a year in which the bank has invested heavily in its digital operations. It says this has seen a significant number of customers switch to banking online with a drop in the number of transactions done in the branch.

Heather Lauder, chief banking operations director at The Co-operative Bank, said: "This decision has not been taken lightly and we realise this may be difficult news for some colleagues.

"However, like many banks, the proposal reflects changes in the way our customers are choosing to bank with us, which has continued to accelerate as customers increasingly undertake more of their transactions online or via contactless payments.

She said: "We are writing to affected customers to provide information about the alternative options available to them, as well as our online and mobile banking facilities.

"The closing branch is within one mile of a Post Office branch where customers can undertake most day to day transactions."

Ms Lauder said: "Our branch network remains an integral part of our overall customer service offer and we have been investing in those branches that are well used.

"At the same time we are investing in our digital services to provide customers with new ways to service their accounts such as web chat and secure messaging, and introducing digital wallets such as Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay as they continue to demand access to banking services at their fingertips.

She added: "We’re committed to continuing to provide the high levels of service that our personal and business customers have come to expect from us and we will seek to minimise the impact on our customers."

Banking workers in the Peterborough area have endured a number of bank and building society branch closures recently.

The Yorkshire Building Society put 200 jobs at risk as it sought to shut branches across the area following its acquisition of the Norwich & Peterborough Building Society while the NatWest announced branch closures in Stamford and Oundle last year.

However, Peterborough has also seen the arrival of banking newcomer the Metro Bank, which created 25 jobs when it opened in Long Causeway last year.