Bank branches to close

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The Co-operative Banking Group is remaining tight-lipped over the future of its Mansfield branch following reports of widescale closures.

The group has announced plans to cut its branch network by at least 15 per cent by the end of next year, closing around 50 of its 324 branches nationally, leading to significant job losses.

The bank said it would “significantly enhance” its internet and mobile banking services as a result, but has told Chad it has not yet confirmed which branches are to close.

A spokesman for the group said: “Whist we have announced that we expect to rationalise our branch network by at least 15 per cent by the end of 2014, at this stage we have not announced individual branches that are due to close.”

The details emerged as it unveiled a rescue plan, drawn up earlier this month.

The group said investors who bought bonds in its troubled banking arm will be given 70 per cent of the bank, leaving it with 30 per cent.

In a message issued via the Co-operative Group’s website, chief executive Euan Sutherland said the rescue package had been put in place as an alternative to asking for a bailout from the taxpayer.

But he admitted there will be “significant” job losses, saying that staff will be informed first.

The group added that the bank’s outlook remains “challenging”, although monthly bad debt charges have fallen.

The decision has been forced on the bank by regulators after it endured massive losses in recent years, including a half-year loss of £709.4m after its takeover of Britannia Building Society in 2009.

The group, which traces its roots back to 1844, took out advertisements in national newspapers to reassure customers that the bank will retain its ethical approach.

The Co-op will remain the bank’s single largest shareholder.

No official date for confirmation of branch closures has yet been announced.