Welcome back Yorkshire Bank as it enters a new era

It's been a long time coming, but finally the employees of Yorkshire Bank have something to celebrate.

The bank floated on the London Stock Exchange on Wednesday after a day’s delay and the shares jumped seven per cent as the market welcomed the appearance of the latest challenger bank.

Yorkshire and sister bank Clydesdale have been in limbo for at least a decade as the unloved British arm of parent company National Australia Bank (NAB).

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While NAB had little exposure to the global banking crisis, Yorkshire and Clydesdale fell prey to the market wide mis-selling, particularly PPI, and Aussie shareholders have been trying to get rid of the British arm for years.

CYBG, as the bank is now called, is one of five challenger banks to float on the London Stock Market over the past two years.

Under the guidance of CEO David Duffy, it has big plans for growth.

Mr Duffy has a good pedigree following his successful turnaround of Allied Irish Bank and his strategy will be to push the mortgage book and SME lending.

SME is an area where Yorkshire Bank has stood out in the past and with the opening of a new SME flagship branch in Leeds, it is in a good place to capture a sizeable chunk of the market.

Yorkshire Bank still has a good name and it is up to Mr Duffy and his team to make the most of the goodwill that Yorkshire folk still have for the brand. Customers want a bank that will treat them fairly through the good times and the bad. After a decade of berating Yorkshire Bank for its previous failings under the NAB umbrella, Blackfriar will be keeping a close eye on how it behaves in the future.

But this is a good first step and we wish Mr Duffy and his team all the best.

There is hope for the high street after all, according to the latest survey by KPMG.

Apparently high street shops are “pivotal” when it comes to customers wanting somewhere to dump their unwanted online purchases.

In a survey of 1,600 KPMG employees providing feedback on 250 retailers, the research showed that online shopping is the most popular choice. 68 per cent opted to log-in rather than take a stroll down the high street over the eight-week period from November 2015 to January 2016.

Now this is a lot higher than you’d expect among the man on the street because KPMG employees are a lot better paid and have less time than the normal shopper.

The research revealed that 74 per cent of customers did not physically test the product before purchasing.

James Tilley, supply chain director at KPMG in the UK,​ said: “Consumers no longer seem to feel the need to go visit a store to ‘touch and feel’ a product before buying. This is partly due to better quality product information available on retailers’ websites, but also trust in user reviews.”

So if consumers are shopping on the high-street less, what does it mean for the role of the store?

KPMG’s research shows that the returns process​ could provide part of the answer.

According to the survey, one third of returns purchased online were actually taken back in-store. This means not only are returns driving extra online purchases, they are also generating additional store traffic.

​This is a load of nonsense. Retailers can’t possibly run their high street estate as a depository for unwanted online purchases. Stores need to create ​an environment that shoppers want to visit. This is something that shopping centres like Trinity Leeds and Meadowhall have cottoned onto. Shoppers need a pleasurable experience if they are to get off their backsides and shop in the real world.

High street destinations need to offer something that the lonely world of internet shopping can’t replicate. Stores need to be vibrant, welcoming places that lure shoppers in with plenty of leisure opportunities.

The high street is doomed if it simply becomes a place where people return their online purchases.