Virgin Money to close a third of UK branches – is your local bank affected?

Virgin Money to close a third of UK branches – is your local bank affected?

20 Jul    Finance News, News

Virgin Money has become the latest lender to reveal a new wave of branch closures, revealing plans to axe almost a third of its network.

The stores in Liverpool, Kendal and Chester will close as the financial business said the number of customers using bank branches for day-to-day transactions has been on a downward trajectory for a number of years.

Virgin Money last announced store closures in September 2021. Following these latest changes, which will take effect later this year, it will have a network of 91 stores across the UK.

The stores which are closing have seen an average reduction in customer transactions of 43% since March 2020 and 96% of customers in these stores are transacting less than once a month on average.

The decision to close a store is based on a number of factors, including footfall, transaction volumes and the number of potentially vulnerable customers in the area. Each store was assessed on an individual basis, with careful consideration of the impact on the local area, as well as the needs of vulnerable customers and the accessibility of alternative services such as free-to-use ATMs and Post Offices.

Each store closing is less than half a mile from the nearest Post Office, which customers can use to carry out day‐to-day transactions, including cash deposits and withdrawals, cheque deposits and balance enquiries, as well as coin exchange.

The news comes only days after Barclays said it was set to close 14 more banks over the coming months, with the major high street bank saying it will close 11 of its sites in England a further two in Wales and one in Scotland.

The majority of the closures will happen in October – with the rest shutting their doors in November and December.

Banks in Cardiff, Salford, Norwich and Dumfries are among those affected.

The bank has already announced more than 60 closures this year, following in the footsteps of several other major companies, including NatWest, Lloyds Banking Group and Halifax.

Sarah Wilkinson, chief operating officer at Virgin Money, said: “The decision to close a store is never taken lightly. But as our customers continue to change the way they want to bank with us, by conducting fewer transactions in-store and adopting the convenience of digital banking, we must respond to that evolving demand.

“Our focus is on supporting our customers and colleagues. We have considered the number of vulnerable customers using each store very carefully throughout the review process as a key factor in our decision making, and will proactively provide enhanced, bespoke care to ensure any vulnerable customers affected are supported through the changes.

“For our colleagues, we will pursue all options to retain as many as possible within alternative roles, and have had great success previously with store colleagues moving to other customer operations roles, as their skills are highly transferable.”

The business said it will support affected colleagues with finding alternative roles wherever possible, either within other stores or elsewhere in the group, particularly with the increased opportunities provided by remote and flexible working options. However, it admitted some colleagues will be at risk of redundancy.

The 39 sites affected are as follows:

• Belfast
• Chelmsford
• Enfield
• Hexham
• London Haymarket
• St Albans
• Bournemouth
• Cheltenham
• Exeter
• Irvine
• Milton Keynes
• Swindon
• Brighton
• Chester
• Fort William
• Kendall
• Newton Stewart
• Turrif
• Bristol
• Croydon
• Golders Green
• Kensington
• Norwich
• Wolverhampton
• Bromley
• Derby
• Gosforth Centre
• Kingston
• Oxford
• Cambridge
• Durham
• Guildford
• Liverpool
• Reading
• Cardiff
• Ellon
• Harrow
• Lochgilphead

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