About 1,700 jobs are to be axed at two major UK banks as part of a wide-scale restructuring by their Australian-based owner.
National Australia Bank said the cuts at the Yorkshire and Clydesdale banks - due to take place over the next 12 to 18 months - are necessary to make its UK operation "more nimble and customer-focused".
The group employs about 10,300 people in the UK, including at 217 branches of Glasgow-based Clydesdale and at 232 outlets of Leeds-based Yorkshire. Together they serve a total of 2.7 million customers.
National Australia Bank will cut 1,700 jobs at its British operations - nearly 17 per cent of staff - within 18 months to save £117 million a year. A total of 800 jobs will be lost from England alone.
However, a spokeswoman for the Banks said plans announced last month to convert 39 Midlands and Northern branches of Clydesdale and Yorkshire into "integrated-financial service centres" would still go ahead.
Parent-company National, recovering from two profit warnings and a foreign exchange trading scandal, said it would take a charge of £109.2 million in the first half ending March 31 to cover the costs for the lay-offs at its Clydesdale Bank in Scotland and Yorkshire Bank in north England.
The operations, which contributed about 14.5 per cent of group profit last year, have both been hit by higher costs and declining margins.
In February, when the National first outlined the UK restructure, it said the average number of products Clydesdale and Yorkshire customers had was 1.5, compared with 2.4 products for its competitors' customers.
The bank has said it wants to boost its remaining UK operations. But some fund managers have argued it should get out of Britain because its operations are relatively small and it lacks a major presence in the Southeast, a cut-throat banking market.
"We have made it clear that we are committed to a strong presence in the UK, but to do so we must change the way we do business," National UK's chief executive Lynne Peacock said in a statement.
"Restructuring changes have already been communicated to approximately 400 staff," she said, adding that most of the 1,700 job cuts would not be among staff dealing with customers.
About 600 of the job cuts would come from "central support" areas, the bank said, but others would come from distribution and products.
National chief executive John Stewart said in February that Britain was an attractive market with a positive outlook and was big enough for smaller banks to compete profitably in niche markets.
The bank then said its British operations generated a profit after tax of £188 million in the year ended September 30 - equivalent to about 14.5 per cent of total profits of £1.3 billion last year.
Meanwhile, Tizer- to-Orangina group AG Barr unveiled plans for a major overhaul of operations in its Scottish heartland.
AG Barr said it would spend £17 million on consolidating distribution, administration and sales operations from six Scottish locations into an existing site in Cumbernauld, in a bid to save £2.5 million a year.
Plans include the relocation of the group's Glasgow head office, although it was too soon to say how many jobs would be lost as a result.
Chief executive Roger White said he hoped just a "relatively small" percentage of jobs would go as a result.
It came as the firm disclosed a 13 per cent increase in profits to £15.6 million during the year to January 29, despite difficult trading caused by last year's poor weather.