The National Australia Bank (NAB) has hired management consultancy Boston Consulting Group to advise on a restructuring of its Clydesdale Bank in Britain. BCG will in the coming weeks work closely with Clydesdale Chief Executive Officer David Thorburn. The results of the strategic review will be completed in May.
Clydesdale Bank currently operates more than 300 branches with over 4.200 employees in Scotland.
NAB last month reported a downturn in earnings from its UK business as a result of "increased wholesale funding costs, higher deposit costs and increased liquid asset holdings", as well as a reduction in lending activity and fee income. Also Clydesdale has experienced an increase in bad debts as a result of the economic slowdown and the declining British property market. In particular the commercial property business has performed poorly and therefore it is no surprise that BCG is expected to take this unit under particular scrutiny.
The appointment of the global strategy consulting firm fuels speculation that the bank is preparing for mass sackings. A few weeks ago CEO David Thorburn already warned of job losses. Clydesdale already announced 279 job cuts in December last year.