BANKING giant HSBC is to axe 1,700 jobs in the UK as the financial sector undergoes further trauma.
HSBC said the biggest cuts will come in its credit card and collections operation, which will be cut from nine regional offices to two sites in Birmingham.
The bank said 109 posts would be axed in Sheffield and 40 in Leeds. Others would go in Southampton, Southend, Leicester, Birmingham, London and Manchester.
Union Unite said the bank was making a “fundamental mistake” in shedding skilled staff and said it would do nothing to improve performance.
HSBC’s announcement comes after Royal Bank of Scotland yesterday revealed plans to cut 3,700 jobs across its UK branch network.
It came as the Government revealed plans to break-up Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group – bringing uncertainty to thousands of bank workers across West Yorkshire.
The break-up – which is being made to appease European competition chiefs – came as the Government announced it is to pump another £30bn of public money into the two banks.
RBS is selling RBS-branded branches in England and Wales including a branch in Market Place, Huddersfield, its NatWest branches in Scotland, the Churchill and Direct Line insurance business and parts of its investment banking business as the price of state support.
Lloyds Banking Group will offload its Lloyds branches in Scotland, its Cheltenham & Gloucester branches including one in Ramsden Street and the Intelligent Finance online business.
The shake-up is set to affect thousands of employees and many thousands of customers across the region.
It means a significant slice of the British banking market up for grabs.
Lloyds is selling at least 600 branches or about 4.6% of the total market share of UK current accounts while RBS said the moves would cut its UK market share by 2% in retail banking.
But Unite warned that up to 25,000 jobs were at risk because of the sell-off plans.
The union said ministers and employers now had a duty to save jobs rather than securing the best price for the banks’ assets.
Unite national officer Rob MacGregor said: “While this is a decision largely out of both banks’ hands, in divesting these assets, simply securing the best price would be letting down loyal and long-serving staff.
“Any potential buyers should be assessed on their commitment to job security and protection of terms and conditions not short-term profits. The Government has saved the banks, now it is time to save bank workers.”
Under the proposals, the Government will pump in about £30bn more into the two banks.
Lloyds will receive an extra £5.7bn in public money to support its record £13.5bn cash call on shareholders. RBS will receive £25.5bn in cash upfront from the Treasury as part of plans to withdraw from the Asset Protection Scheme – although the bank will also be able to call on an extra £8bn if needed.