A CHIPPING Sodbury bank is due to close this spring, it has been confirmed.

The former Britannia branch on High Street will shut its doors in April as part of a rationalisation programme by the Co-operative, which took over the firm last year.

The Chipping Sodbury branch is one of 50 to be identified for closure. Co-op had to come up with a rescue for its bank after the discovery of a £1.5bn hole in its balance sheet, caused by bad loans and the 2009 merger with Britannia building society.

Work had just been completing on refitting the branch as a Co-op and new signage was due to be installed.

Heather Lauder, customer and distribution director for the Co-operative Bank, said: “This decision has not been taken lightly and we appreciate that the closure of our Chipping Sodbury branch is disappointing.

“We are committed to supporting impacted customers and colleagues and will be keeping them fully informed throughout these changes.”

She said the bank’s re-capitalisation plan is intended to rationalise the branch network by at least 15 per cent by the end of 2014.

She added: “As we re-focus our business we will be investing in self-service and digital channels in order to provide our customers with new ways to service their accounts.

“We remain focused on providing our highest levels of service and customers with our Chipping Sodbury branch will be contacted directly prior to the closure with further details about alternative channels they can use to service their accounts.”

There are four people employed at the branch. The Co-op said as a period of consultation was ongoing, it would be inappropriate to provide a regional breakdown on eventual role reductions at this stage.