Co-op Unveils £1.3bn Loss
(Reuters)

Co-operative Bank has reported pre-tax losses of £264m ($391.5m, €362m) in 2014, a "significant improvement" on the previous year's £632.8m losses.

The bank, which has had to field nightmarish problems within its finances and boardroom culture since 2013, also announced plans to close another 57 branches in 2015.

It also said chief executive Niall Brooker, who was drafted in to deal with the mess at the bank, will stay on until the end of 2016.

Co-op Bank said the performance of its core business "stabilised" in the second half of last year, although the number of current accounts fell 4% over the year as a whole.

"Over the course of 2014 the management team has continued to take significant steps to implement the strategy and to turn the bank around. The Co-operative Bank is stronger than a year ago and we end the year with a strengthened capital position," Booker said.

"However, we are in the early stages of the turnaround and there is still much to do to transform the organisation into a sustainable business. There are a number of matters where the Bank does not yet meet FCA and PRA regulatory requirements and expectations. The revised plan, accepted by the regulators, seeks to address this."

Co-op's banking operations almost collapsed following the discovery of a £1.5bn black hole in its accounts. It was also damaged by the scandal surrounding former chairman Paul Flower's involvement with drugs.

Co-operative Bank chairman Dennis Holt said: "The Co-operative Bank's survival was in doubt when Niall joined the Bank in June 2013 and the progress we have made from that crisis point is in no small part due to his leadership through the turmoil.

"This announcement gives us a new level of certainty and the opportunity to address issues of succession in due course."

Co-op bank closed 72 branches in 2014. The additional 57 closures will leave a network of 165 branches. This is a 44% reduction over two years. Booker said some job losses would be expected as people migrated to digital and mobile banking.