Banking on Leisure

Despite strong performance in its wider Group, the Co-op has written down its stake in the beleaguered Co-operative Bank to nil, as a buyer is sought for the business. The institution which is struggling to comply with its capital requirements has reported five years of consecutive losses; in part victim of the prolonged low-interest rate environment which is affecting the banking sector more generally. Its four-year recovery period has seen a workforce halved to 3,895, and near-200 branches shut. Overall, 16,000 jobs are forecast to be lost in the UK finance sector by 2020. This sentiment is reinforced by a recent report from the Local Data Company, which suggests that previous high street stalwarts, such as banks and fashion, are being replaced with leisure uses such as health clubs and fast food outlets, with banks being net negative 196 stores during 2016.