Why is CYBG Britain's Least Admired Company 2016?

The challenger bank is formidable in size but is dogged by memories of scandal.

by Andrew Saunders
Last Updated: 02 Dec 2016

Formative years

It may sound like a tongue twister, but CYBG is actually one of those new-fangled challenger banks. Its constituent parts - Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks - date back to the muscular regional economies of the 19th century, but in its current form it is but a callow youth. Its life as a FTSE 250 member began as recently as February 2016, with a £1.6bn IPO by then-owner National Australia Bank. Having been trying the escape the UK market for a decade, NAB breathed a sigh of relief and hightailed it happily back to its Antipodean core market.


Britain's Most Admired Companies 2016: see the full list


Recent history

With 250-odd branches and 2.8 million customers, CYBG is a substantial and established concern by comparison with minnow rivals like Atom and Metro. Neither is it subject to the horrendous legacy technology issues which dog the large high-street majors. So why has it just been voted Britain's Least Admired Company (or its Least Most Admired company at any rate) coming last out of the 241 companies in this year's survey?

CYBG's big problem is neither assets nor tech, but rather its reputation. Punters (and peers) have long memories and it's not so many years since CYBG was up to its neck in festering commercial property loans and PPI and interest rate swaps aggro. Its wrongdoings cost it a total of £1.51bn in fines between 2013-2015 - a hefty burden on its image that the freshly minted and squeaky clean brands of the other challengers do not have to bear.

Who's in charge?

David Duffy - the man credited with turning round Allied Irish Bank - is in the hot seat, pursuing a vigorous strategy of cost-cutting (£100m, including 50 branch closures) while also investing £350m in digital and mobile banking. He's even put a bid in for Williams & Glyn.

Don't mention

Unbundling. It's the age of disruption and even challenger banks like CYBG are being challenged. A host of fintech start-ups like iZettle, GoCardless, Funding Circle and Nutmeg are nibbling away at the full-service banking model. Will there be anything but bones left?

VITAL STATISTICS

Income: £898m
Loan book: £30bn
Pre-tax profit: £77m

(FY 2016)

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