Landmark Sheffield bank could close

A prominent Sheffield bank could close and a senior banker is taking redundancy in a merger between two high street names.

Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 1:18 pm

Yorkshire Bank on Fargate could go and Paul Wainwright, head of customer banking for Sheffield, is leaving following the acquisition of Virgin Money.

Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank bought its rival in October in a deal which will see all branches nationally renamed Virgin Money because it is deemed the stronger brand.

Yorkshire Bank, which traces its roots back to 1859, will disappear in a process starting later this year and set to finish by the end of 2022.

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Paul Wainwright, left, and Brenda Brien outside Yorkshire Bank on Fargate which is already advertising Virgin Money products.

In Sheffield, Yorkshire Bank and Virgin Money Lounge stand opposite each other at the top of Fargate.

Brendan Brien, YB regional manager, said no decision had been made but it would make sense from a business perspective to be on one site, the Virgin Money Lounge.

He added: “We don’t expect any redundancies, it’s more about growing. Yorkshire Bank didn’t go lightly down this path but we can be a disruptor or be disrupted. It’s about scaling up to provide service to customers.”

Yorkshire Bank on Fargate is already advertising Virgin Money products in its windows. But nothing would happen before June, he added.

The three-storey VM Lounge, one of seven nationally, offers unlimited free drinks to customers in a cafe environment. It has a games room in the basement with a bowling alley. The first floor space is regularly used for community and business events.

A Metro Bank is set to open next door later this year. It is also a trendy ‘challenger’ bank that welcomes customers with dogs and even offers free dog biscuits.

Mr Brien added: “We have to be aware of the competition. Metro will keep us on our toes. We have to speak with one voice and do what we do well.”

Mr Wainwright, who is from Wakefield, is leaving after 24 years with Yorkshire Bank, three in Sheffield.

He said he wanted to stay in banking in Sheffield City Region but the time was right to do something else.

Mr Brien said: “Paul is a good friend and we wish him the very best.”