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Clydesdale’s Duffy seeks Virgin lands after merger green light

Clydesdale CEO downplays IT risks from further mergers and targets RBS SME scheme for 2019.

When he meets Euromoney in September, Clydesdale chief executive David Duffy is just back from a health check, and full of warnings about the risks of too much caffeine and sugar. 


David Duffy,

Given his bank’s £1.7 billion merger with Virgin Money – which Clydesdale’s shareholders approved on September 10 – Duffy might have little need for more stimulants for his blood pressure. The fast-talking Irish banker, who appears fighting fit, orders a coffee anyway. 

In truth, even without Brexit, this is not the most relaxing time to be running a UK challenger bank, especially one going through a transformational event like this.

After all, earlier in September, Paul Pester – chief executive of TSB, the bank previously the closest in size to Clydesdale – stepped down after a disastrous data migration from its former parent, Lloyds Banking Group, to its new owner, Banco Sabadell. 

Duffy is understandably keen to downplay fears that there could be similar problems in his own all-share acquisition (Virgin shareholders will get 38% of the combination). 

The source of most complexity in integrating banks, according to Duffy, is current accounts, of which Virgin only has about 100,000.

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