Five questions answered on the Co-op Bank’s plans to cut branches

How many stores is the Co-op Bank planning on closing?

Amid an ongoing struggle to bring the Co-op Bank back into profit it has announced it will close some of its stores by the end of next year. We answer five questions on the Co-op’s branch closure plan.

How many stores is the Co-op Bank planning on closing?

The banking group plans to reduce its branch network by 15 per cent by the end of next year, which means closing around 50 branches.

How will the branch closures affect jobs at the bank? 

In regards to this, Euan Sutherland, group chief executive, told BBC Radio 5 live: "We do need to take the overall costs down, unfortunately [that] will hit jobs, but we don't have the details today."

He added: "We have taken a major step forward towards achieving our plan to secure the future of the bank.”

Why is Co-op closing these branches?

The branch closures are part of a £1.5bn recapitalisation plan rescue deal to bring the bank back into profit.

The rescue deal will see shares of around 70 per cent of the bank handed over to creditors, leaving Co-op Group with 30 per cent.

The Co-operative Group will inject £462m into the bank to retain this 30 per cent equity.

However, investors have to vote in this plan in a vote that will take place before the end of the year. Three quarters of investors must support the plan for it to proceed.

The Co-op also plans to list the bank on the London Stock Exchange in 2014.

What else have decision makers at the Co-op Bank said?

Niall Booker, chief executive of the bank, is reported as saying by The Telegraph:

“You can see by what’s happened to other banks,” he said, naming the Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group, “that’s it going to take time.”

“One thing we must not forget is the core part of our operation is profitable on an ongoing basis; the drag comes from the run-off portfolio,” he continued.

Finally he added that:  “it’s going to take us four to five years to restructure this bank.”

What has bank regulators the Prudential Regulation Authority said about the Co-op Bank’s new recapitalisation plans?

"We welcome the announcement by the firm today setting out the final details of how it will raise the capital required," it said in a statement.

The banking group plans to reduce its branch network by 15 per cent by the end of next year. Photograph: Getty Images.

Heidi Vella is a features writer for Nridigital.com

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#Match4Lara: Lara has found her match, but the search for mixed-race donors isn't over

A UK blood cancer charity has seen an "unprecedented spike" in donors from mixed race and ethnic minority backgrounds since the campaign started. 

Lara Casalotti, the 24-year-old known round the world for her family's race to find her a stem cell donor, has found her match. As long as all goes ahead as planned, she will undergo a transplant in March.

Casalotti was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in December, and doctors predicted that she would need a stem cell transplant by April. As I wrote a few weeks ago, her Thai-Italian heritage was a stumbling block, both thanks to biology (successful donors tend to fit your racial profile), and the fact that mixed-race people only make up around 3 per cent of international stem cell registries. The number of non-mixed minorities is also relatively low. 

That's why Casalotti's family launched a high profile campaign in the US, Thailand, Italy and the US to encourage more people - especially those from mixed or minority backgrounds - to register. It worked: the family estimates that upwards of 20,000 people have signed up through the campaign in less than a month.

Anthony Nolan, the blood cancer charity, also reported an "unprecedented spike" of donors from black, Asian, ethcnic minority or mixed race backgrounds. At certain points in the campaign over half of those signing up were from these groups, the highest proportion ever seen by the charity. 

Interestingly, it's not particularly likely that the campaign found Casalotti her match. Patient confidentiality regulations protect the nationality and identity of the donor, but Emily Rosselli from Anthony Nolan tells me that most patients don't find their donors through individual campaigns: 

 It’s usually unlikely that an individual finds their own match through their own campaign purely because there are tens of thousands of tissue types out there and hundreds of people around the world joining donor registers every day (which currently stand at 26 million).

Though we can't know for sure, it's more likely that Casalotti's campaign will help scores of people from these backgrounds in future, as it has (and may continue to) increased donations from much-needed groups. To that end, the Match4Lara campaign is continuing: the family has said that drives and events over the next few weeks will go ahead. 

You can sign up to the registry in your country via the Match4Lara website here.

Barbara Speed is a technology and digital culture writer at the New Statesman and a staff writer at CityMetric.