The Co-operative Bank is cutting 200 jobs as it battles to return to profitability in a low-interest-rate environment.
Officials at the Unite trade union warned that the cuts – which will reduce the workforce to 4,015 – could have a detrimental impact on customer service at the bank, which almost collapsed in 2013.
Liam Coleman, deputy chief executive of the bank, said the decision to cut the roles in Manchester and Stockport was not easy.
“We have made progress in turning the bank around since 2013 but have always been clear that the bank’s recovery is a difficult journey. As we have said before, we will remain loss making in 2016 and 2017 and whilst we continue to make progress with our turnaround plan, in a challenging economic environment, maintaining our focus on costs and delivery of initiatives are key to building a more resilient and sustainable bank,” said Coleman.
As it informed staff about the cutbacks, the bank said that the “low-interest-rate environment limits the ability of all banks to generate income and presents further cost challenges”.
In 2013 the bank needed a £1.5bn capital injection to keep it afloat, forcing hedge funds to step in. Its former owner, the Co-operative Group of supermarkets and funeral homes, now has a stake of just 20%.
The Unite national officer Rob MacGregor said: “The speed and breadth of these cuts will hit the Co-operative Bank’s much cherished customer service and with it the bank’s unique selling point.”