Troubled bank Birmingham Midshires has denied a merger between parent company HBOS and Lloyds TSB is behind a decision to scrap 40 financial consultants’ jobs in Wolverhampton.

The firm, which employs 2,000 at its Wolverhampton base, said it was making the roles redundant as part of its “ongoing business model”.

It denied the move was an example of belt tightening in the downturn.

A spokesman said: “From January Birmingham Midshires will not offer an investment advice service via financial consultants. The provision of advice does not fit our business model of offering savings via direct channels.

“This mirrors Birmingham Midshires’s mortgage model of not offering advice. We will not be making compulsory redundancies as a result of this.”

The firm said it would be working with affected employees to find them new roles within the company.

But it could not confirm that the jobs would be on the same pay grade or even in the West Midlands, as owners HBOS have office and outlets across the country.

The company spokesman added that the workers, who were based primarily out of the office, could not be guaranteed a role in a similar field.

The move will cause further concern at the company after a leaked memo earlier this year from HBOS chief executive Andy Hornby said job losses were “inevitable”.

Although there have not been the mass-redundancies that were predicted yet, there are fears that this could be the tip of the iceberg for the company.

There are also worries that Birmingham Midshires could be a more vulnerable part of the HBOS group because of its higher risk lending strategies in the past.

But Wendy Dunsmore, national secretary for the union Amicus, which supports people in the financial sector, said the company had a good track record of looking after its staff.

“HBOS has been going through a period of change for some months now and across the company as a whole there have been 4,000 people affected by these changing roles,” she said.

“As a union our stance is that we do not accept compulsory redundancies, and out of these 4,000 staff members who have been affected only three or four have had to take compulsory redundancy in the end.

“The company will work, and has worked in the past hard, to have talks with the employees on the ground and to try and find alternative employment for them within the company.

“They will look at their skills and their experience and they will try to place them in similar roles if possible.”

She said the union suspected the change in structure at the company was due to the credit crunch, but said that it was not related to the recent merger with Lloyds TSB.

“These are structural changes that have been going on since much earlier this year so they aren’t related to more recent events,” she added.