Virgin Money, owner of the former Clydesdale Bank, has announced plans to close nearly a third of its UK branch network including six outlets in Scotland.

The bank, which refers to its branches as "stores", said the closures are necessary to meet changing customer demand. It added that it will work "wherever possible" to find alternative roles for staff affected by the closures, but "some colleagues will be at risk of redundancy".

Virgin said the stores which are closing had seen an average reduction in customer transactions of 43% since March 2020, with 96% of customers in these stores transacting on average less than once a month. It added that all affected sites are located less than half a mile from the nearest Post Office, which customers can use to carry out day‐to-day transactions.

Sarah Wilkinson, chief operating officer at Virgin Money, said the decision to close a store "is never taken lightly". However, customers are increasingly taking up digital banking alternatives.

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“We have considered the number of vulnerable customers using each store very carefully throughout the review process as a key factor in our decision making, and will proactively provide enhanced, bespoke care to ensure any vulnerable customers affected are supported through the changes," she said.

“For our colleagues, we will pursue all options to retain as many as possible within alternative roles, and have had great success previously with store colleagues moving to other customer operations roles, as their skills are highly transferable.”

A spokesperson said Virgin will close a total of 38 its existing 129 branches throughout the UK by the end of this year. Customers at each site will be given at least 12 weeks' advance notice.

The group's network in Scotland will fall from 42 to 36 branches. Those set for closure are located in Ellon, Fort William, Irvine, Lochgilphead, Newton Stewart and Turriff.