The Clydesdale and Yorkshire banking group (CYBG) has said it has no immediate plans for further branch closures as it announced a 15% rise in half-year profits.
Yesterday, chief operating officer Debbie Crosbie admitted the decision to close 40 Clydesdale branches in Scotland, including six in the north-east, was one the group had “never wanted to take.”
But, she added that the interim figures showed the bank was continuing to grow and was committed to the customers it serves.
Ms Crobsie said the closure programme, announced in January, would be complete by late summer. Branches affected include Aboyne, Banff, Fraserburgh, Mintlaw, Stonehaven, North Esplanade West in Aberdeen, Aberlour, Buckie and Thurso.
She said the bank was putting a “lot of different plans” in place for customers affected by the closures.
Ms Crobie added: “We never wanted to take decisions to close outlets, but the business is still growing.
“We have tried our best to make sure our customers have the access to the services they need. We are trying to make sure people understand they can do their transaction banking at Post Offices.
“There are rural areas where we made closures, but there are other areas where we are opening.”
She said there were “no more imminent announcements” on further closures, but, in common with other banks, it was a situation that was “always under review” by the group.
The programme to close almost a third of its branches around the UK, is part of a cost cutting drive by the group aimed at saving £100million by 2019.
Glasgow-based CYBG, which demerged from former owner National Australia Bank last year, yesterday posted underlying pre-tax profits of £123 million for the six months to March 31, against £107 million a year earlier.
But the costs of restructuring and another £150 million bill for payment protection insurance mis-selling left bottom line profits 21% lower at £46 million.
Jim Pettigrew, chairman of CYBG, said: “CYBG has had a good start to 2017, building on the momentum created in our first year as an independent business.”
CYBG declined to comment on whether it was interested in buying troubled rival the Co-operative Bank.
In its half-year results, CYBG said the housing market had continued to grow in its first half, although it cautioned over the Brexit squeeze on consumer finances.
It said: “The impact of higher inflation and its influence on consumer confidence will continue to be a key area of focus with potential knock- on implications for consumer spending and business activity.”
The group saw current account balances rise by 4.5% in the half-year, while its mortgage portfolio rose 5% to £22.4 billion.
CYBG added that it remains “cautious” on unsecured lending, which fell by 3% in the half year amid weakened consumer sentiment and competition from rivals.