US banking group Citi is closing down its Future Mortgages and CitiFinancial lending units in the UK, leading to the loss of 670 jobs, including 400 call centre roles.
A Citi spokesman told Finextra that the bank plans to close its Doxford call centre near Sunderland in the north of England by mid-2009 at the earliest. As well as handling calls the facility manages loan operations such as processing and underwriting.
The centre's staff were informed of the plans on Monday and a consultation period is now under way.
In addition, round 270 jobs will go with the closure of 49 CitiFinancial loan centres over the next few months.
Future Mortgages offered first and second secured loans through mortgage brokers and advisers and had less than one per cent of the UK market. CitiFinancial, also with less than one per cent of market share, offered unsecured personal and homeowner loans. The two units will stop new lending from tomorrow.
Explaining the move, Bert Pijls, business manager, UK consumer business, Citi, says: "Following a strategic review of the consumer business in the UK, Future Mortgages and CitiFinancial were not identified as areas for strategic growth."
The bank says it will focus on growing consumer business through its Egg brand, the Internet banking operation bought from Prudential for £575 million in 2007, as well as its own Citi brand.