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Found 10 results

  1. Struggling bank the Co-op will shut 50 bank branches to help cover a £1.5 billion capital black hole. Reports suggest 10 per cent of its overall workforce, could be axed with job cuts likely to come from its banking division as part of a radical overhaul of its whole business. The Co-op made no comment on the reports. In May, the bank had its credit rating downgraded to ‘junk’ status by credit ratings agency Moody’s and was forced to present a capital plan to the Bank of England after Moody’s suggested the bank may need funding help from other parts of the business. The Capital Action Plan included details of plans to sell its life and savings division to Royal London and the sale of its general insurance division. Mismanagement and the decision to buy Britannia Building Society was blamed for the problems that left the bank with a £1.5 billion hole in its balance sheet. The Bank of England is expected to approve the changes which will see the mutually-owned organisation give up ownership of the Co-op Bank. The final number of jobs to go was still being decided this weekend, according to Sky News, but it is expected to be well over 1,000 out of a total workforce of about 9,000 that work for the Co-op’s banking division, primarily in its corporate lending business as it refocuses lending to small business customers. The new deal would need the approval of 80 per cent of the shareholders and a vote is expected to take place before the end of the year. The Co-op Bank needs to attract new investment and ordinary investors are likely to be given a combination of bonds and income guarantees to secure future support.The Bank is being forced to list on the stock exchange for the first time and the two biggest institutional bondholders, two US hedge funds, are likely to emerge as the biggest shareholders when the bank’s shares appear on the stock exchange for the first time next year. The fact that the mutual will no longer be the majority owner of the Co-op Bank is likely to upset many of the Bank’s customers. This has resulted in the institutional bondholders being quick to praise the Co-op’s ethical stance and aims. One of the biggest corporate shareholders, LT2 said in a statement last week: "The Co-operative Bank is unique for its ethics, mission and heritage which are an essential component of the Bank’s differentiated approach. "It is important to us that the Bank will maintain its unique characteristics and ethos. "The Co-operative Group Ltd. will remain the Bank’s largest shareholder by far and the Bank will benefit by this connection to the Co-operative movement." Link: http://www.myfinances.co.uk/savings/2013/11/04/co-op-to-cut-10-of-banking-staff
  2. The Church of England has confirmed that it is part of a consortium that includes the Corsair Capital investment fund and Centerbridge, which is bidding for the 314 Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) branches currently up for sale. The confirmation follows RBS’s decision to name the consortium as preferred bidder, having endorsed its aim to create a bank with a focus on ethical standards while servicing the needs of retail customers and the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The new bank, to be called Williams and Glyn’s, expects to secure a 5% market share of the SME and mid-corporate banking markets, and a 2% share of UK personal current accounts. Andrew Brown, secretary to the Church Commissioners, says: “This is a great opportunity for the Commissioners to invest in an exciting opportunity for the benefit of the serving and retired clergy, bishops, cathedrals and the wide work of the Church of England throughout the country especially in areas of need and opportunity.” More: http://www.bankingtimes.co.uk/2013/09/30/church-of-england-confirms-rbs-branches-bid/
  3. Full story http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22276082
  4. Nationwide publicly declared its interest in snapping up 316 branches from Royal Bank of Scotland as it was hit with a £238m bill for past follies. Britain’s biggest building society said the acquisition would help meet its target of gobbling up 10 per cent of the current account market. It added that ownership of the branches would also ‘fit logically’ with its plans to start lending to small and medium-sized businesses by 2014. RBS was forced to sell the branches as a condition of receiving a £45bn bail out. But a £1.65bn deal struck with Santander two years ago fell through last month after the Spanish-owned bank complained about RBS’s IT systems. Although several private equity firms and Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Money have expressed interest, there are fears it could be sold off for a bargain basement price. Chris Rhodes, executive director of products and marketing at Nationwide said: ‘We will watch this very closely but this is a very complex transaction that one buyer has already walked away from them.’ But as it revealed its hand, the Swindon-based firm admitted it had been forced to put aside £193m to cover losses on commercial property loans in the first half of the year – up from £72m a year earlier. Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/markets/article-2239247/Nationwide-eyes-316-RBS-branches.html#ixzz2DXZrMwum
  5. Nationwide has launched a self-service current account paying more interest than most High Street savings accounts. The new FlexDirect account pays customers 1.6 per cent after tax (2 per cent before) on balances up to £2,500 — a rate well above the average 0.74 per cent (0.92 per cent) payable on easy access deals. However, it has been dubbed a self-service account because you won’t be able to do any of your everyday banking at counters in branches. Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/saving/article-2239359/The-Nationwide-bank-account-puts-branches-limits.html#ixzz2DXYAQbOJ
  6. The deal estimated to be worth around £1 billion is £500 million less than was first anticipated. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/markets/article-2173280/Co-op-closes-cut-price-deal-Lloyds-branches.html
  7. Lloyds Banking has agreed terms to sell 630 of its branches to the Co-operative Group resulting in rival bidder NBNK Investments announcing plans to close. The pair have agreed on the commercial terms of the transaction and are now proceeding in exclusive talks for the sale of the Project Verde business. In an announcement on the London Stock Exchange yesterday, Lloyds announced it has ended talks with rival bidder NBNK, which will now be wound up. In a statement NBNK Investments said there were no other UK banking assets available which would meet the company’s objective and has begun to take steps to wind-up the company. Gary Hoffman, chief executive of NBNK Investments, says: “We are disappointed that the door has now been closed on this opportunity, with the result that we will be unable to deliver our vision of banking, bringing a vibrant new challenger to the high street, devoted to providing the level of service that customers want and deserve.” The Project Verde business has almost five million customers and represents 6 per cent of all bank branches in the UK. If combined with the Co-op business, it will have 7% of the total market for current accounts in the country. This deal for the Project Verde business is subject to agreeing satisfactory documentation, the approval of the respective boards of Lloyds and Co-op, and further discussions with the FSA, the Treasury and the European Commission. Co-op has been the preferred bidder for the Project Verde business for some time, however it lost its exclusivity agreement with Lloyds last month. The FSA has reportedly had concerns with the Co-op deal, citing the complex structure of the group. There have also been reports that the regulator may call for the Co-op to hold an additional £3bn of capital at group level. Lloyds’ branch disposal, named by the bank as ‘Project Verde’, is a requirement by the European Commission as part of Lloyds receiving state aid in 2008. Link: http://www.mortgagestrategy.co.uk/latest-news/lloyds-agrees-terms-with-co-op-for-630-branches-nbnk-set-to-close/1053756.article
  8. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/saving/article-2156911/Nationwide-closes-23-branches-swings-axe--Yorkshire-opens-more.html
  9. The papers are full of the implications of Lloyds having to dump some branches, but one throwaway comment caught my eye - Virgin are apparently bidding in an effort to set up their own retail banking structure (Hmmn - as long as we don't expect banks to run on time we should be OK) and getting hold of the Lloyds branches will give them a running start, said one paper that I saw, because the branches would be sold as a going concern, customers, mortgages and all. (Some of these "spare" branches are former Cheltenham and Gloucester outlets) Now I don't mind the branch network being thinned out - provided it doesn't leave communities completely without access to banking - but I would object to my account being sold on to another lender without some serious consultation up front. Anyone able to shed more light on this?
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