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Task group formed to protect MBNA jobs in Chester

KEY decision-makers have formed a task group to protect MBNA’s 3,500-strong workforce after owners Bank of America announced it was selling the business.

Steve Broomhead, chairman of regeneration board Chester Renaissance, will lead the group whose job is to persuade the bank to sell to a company that will retain the Chester Business Park base and its employees.

The worst case scenario is that Bank of America sells the customer data base to a firm which absorbs the administration of the credit card operation using its existing call centres.

Mr Broomhead said: “We are keeping positive.

“We want the bank to make sure the sale is best for the community and they maintain the number of jobs they have already.

“We are not using words like redundancy. It’s a positive approach to support the bank.”

The Renaissance chairman acknowledges the bank will adopt a commercial approach to the sale, but said the company has always ‘behaved with corporate social responsibility’ and he ‘fully expects’ it will cooperate with the task group.

Cheshire and North Wales MPs are being invited to join the group, which also includes Cheshire West and Chester Council leader Mike Jones, Mersey Dee Alliance chairman and Flintshire County Council deputy leader Tony Sharps and a representative of the Local Enterprise Partnership.

Bank of America will be asked whether it wishes to have a direct involvement.

The task group aims to ensure ‘clear coordination’ from key players representing the affected Cheshire and North Wales region.

As the former chief executive of the North West Regional Development Agency, Mr Broomhead is experienced in working with large companies, having previously liaised with BAE to protect shipyard jobs in Barrow.