The Co-operative Bank has put itself up for sale, seeking a buyer to take over the business. It is said that the bank is also set to cut 200 jobs as part of the cost-cutting transition.
There has been speculation over the bank’s future since 2013, when the business nearly collapsed and had to be bailed out by US hedge funds. This inevitably left a grey cloud over the bank, which stated in Autumn 2015 that it would continue to make a loss until the end of 2017.
“Customers value the Co-operative Bank and our ethical brand is a point of difference that sets us apart in the market,” said Dennis Holt, the bank’s chairman.
“At the same time, since we began work on the Bank’s turnaround, the board has always been clear that we would need to build capital for the future. We are now commencing a sale process, alongside other options. The Bank’s ethical heritage and customer proposition will be a central consideration in this.”
“While our plan has been impacted by ‘lower for longer’ interest rates, the costs associated with the sheer scale of the transformation and the legacy issues we faced in 2013, there is considerable potential to build the bank’s retail franchise further using the strength of the brand, its reputation for strong customer service and distinctive ethical position.”
According to The Guardian, Liam Coleman, the chief executive, said the attempts to turn the bank around had been slowed by the impact of low interest rates and the “sheer scale” of the transformation.
The Co-op bank, formerly part of the Co-Operative group, is now owned mainly by its former lenders.
A further £2.5m is expected to be raised from crowdfunding on Tuesday.
Official figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that retail sales fell by 0.3% in January 2017.
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