Clydesdale, the regional bank owned by National Australia Bank, is to cut 1400 jobs over the next three years as it retreats to its northern roots.
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Clydesdale, which also owns Yorkshire Bank, will close 29 of its business banking offices and six back offices.
The bank lost £25 million in the final six months of 2012 compared with a profit of £77 million a year earlier.
NAB chief executive Cameron Clyne said the decision was taken after a “significant downgrade in the growth prospects of the UK economy”.
David Fleming, national officer of the Unite union said: “The announcement is nothing short of brutal for the UK workforce. Unite finds it disgusting that the company decided to release a statement from Australia in the middle of the night so UK staff would wake up to hear their jobs are being cut through the morning news reports.”
The losses were driven by deteriorating property loans and bad loan write-offs soared from £131 million to £282 million. The Australian bank had been hoping it might find a buyer for Clydesdale. David Thorburn, the bank’s chief executive, said: “Focusing on Scotland and the North of England is key to ensuring we deliver improved returns. It is clear we must adapt to the challenging economy we are operating in. We have had to take some difficult decisions but they are the right decisions for our business. To secure a sustainable future we must concentrate on retail and SME banking in our traditional heartlands.”