Former Alliance & Leicester chief Richard Pym is to become The Co-operative Bank’s new chairman. Pym will succeed Paul Flowers, who as recently stepped down following a credit down-grade last month.

The bank has shaken up its executive board, with Richard Pennycook becoming the new finance director alongside the new chairman and HSBC veteran Niall Booker as the new chief executive of the Co-operative bank.

Amid concerns that UK banks need to strengthen their financial resources to protect against future crises, the Co-operative Bank has announced its resolve to preserve capital. One tactic being employed is to halt all new business lending.

Mr Pym said: ‘We are clearly focused on actions to strengthen the bank’s balance sheet and resolving the current underlying issues.’

‘This will allow us to continue to provide customers with an alternative choice to the traditional banks.

‘The British banking system is very concentrated, with a small number of institutions, and it is important [the Co-operative Bank] plays its full part in maintaining a competitive landscape for customers.’

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