THE Yorkshire and Clydesdale banks are to cut more than 1,400 jobs in the UK, their owner said today.
National Australia Bank (NAB) confirmed the jobs would go by 2015, following a strategic review which was announced in February.
The overhaul will shrink the size of its UK operation, which has 337 branches and a 8,300-strong workforce.
Clydesdale and Yorkshire will now focus primarily on Scotland and Northern England, NAB said, as it closes 29 of its Financial Solution Centres in southern England, as well as six back office locations.
NAB said the review was in response to "the deterioration in the economic and operating conditions" in the UK, particularly in the commercial property market.
Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks racked up a £25 million loss in the first half of the year, compared with a £77 million profit in the previous year, reflecting a higher charge on bad debts and higher funding costs.
NAB chief executive Cameron Clyne said: "In the last half-year there has been a significant downgrade in the growth prospects of the UK economy, in part reflecting the drag on its recovery from heightened weakness in the eurozone.
"The action we are taking is needed to adapt to this current economic environment in the UK, and to reposition the UK banking business to improve returns for the group over the medium term."
He added: "While every effort will be made to support our people, the substantive repositioning of the business will impact roles in the UK."
Yorkshire Bank was founded in 1859 in Halifax, West Yorkshire, and has 185 retail branches, while Glasgow-based Clydesdale, which was bought by NAB in 1987, has 152 outlets.
Following consultation, the UK’s workforce will be reduced to around 6,900.
NAB has been the subject of deal speculation over the last year after it was unsuccessful in the auction of 318 branches put up for sale by Royal Bank of Scotland, a deal later secured by Spanish giant Santander.
Unite national officer David Fleming said the NAB announcement was "nothing short of brutal'' for the UK workforce.
He said: "Unite finds it disgusting that the company decided to release a statement from Australia in the middle of the night so UK staff across Yorkshire and Clydesdale banks would wake up to hear that their jobs are being cut through the morning news reports. This is not the behaviour of a responsible or credible organisation."