TSB staff will have to wait until May to find out what’s going to happen to the bank. That is completely unacceptable.
Sabadell said of its new strategy that it:
“…plans to present its new strategic plan to investors and analysts in May. Sabadell, which has a strong franchise in Spain and is the leader in customer experience rankings among SMEs, will focus on these high added-value and profitable segments, and will implement its new plan by improving both its efficiency and organic capital generation, focusing on digital transformation and generating shareholder value”.
The future of the TSB is not mentioned once in the update, although we know that Sabadell is looking to offload the business as quickly as possible. The possible options available to Sabadell are:
- TSB to remain part of the Sabadell Group. That would seem unlikely given that Sabadell seems intent on focusing on its core, domestic market. The new Chief Executive Officer, Cesar Gonzalez-Bueno, is going to focus on a new digital strategy. That will require a big investment. The sale of TSB would allow Sabadell to reinvest that money in its core business. If it can’t get the right price for TSB, then it might keep it in the short-term but again that seems more likely.
- Sell the TSB business. That would be the preferred choice of Sabadell but finding someone to buy it in the current economic climate is going to be difficult. The worst-case scenario is TSB is bought by a private equity firm looking to slash and burn the business in the hope of making quick profits. In that scenario, head office jobs will disappear, and more branches will be closed.
TBU will do everything possible to oppose such a sale.
The chances of TSB being bought by another domestic player are very slim. Competition issues would rule out the biggest banks and smaller banks, like Santander, have got their own problems. Challenger banks like the Co-op and Sainsbury’s bank are already looking for suitable bidders. Virgin Money would seem the obvious fit, given that 80% of its revenue already comes from the mortgage market, but its Chief Executive, David Duffy, said recently that it would be concentrating on its own business this year and ruled out bidding for TSB.
- A share sale. Again, that seems very unlikely given that TSB’s a loss-making bank with serious branding problems brought on by an IT disaster which still plagues the business. And why would any potential investor buy TSB shares, when you can get three Lloyds shares for a £1? It doesn’t make sense.
Strong, Independent Union
The future of TSB is now in the hands of corporate bankers and that should be worrying for us all. Sabadell wants as much money as it can possibly get for the business, and it’s not interested in what happens to staff or customers. Many of the vultures that are now circling TSB will only be interested in making quick profits and that means job reductions and, potentially, cuts in terms and conditions of employment.
When push comes to shove, which it will do in 2021, what TSB staff need is a strong, independent union prepared to stand up to any new employer. You are not going to get that with the two staff bodies which are financially supported by TSB. Both organisations have proven time and time again that they are only interested in getting on with senior management and are not prepared to fight for the interests of staff.
Members should pass this Newsletter onto to their colleagues so they too can benefit from the biggest, independent trade union in TSB.
Members with any questions on this should contact the Union’s Advice Team on 01234 716029 (choose Option 1).