THOUGH there is the very serious issue of hundreds of jobs being lost through the merger of Virgin Money with the Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banking Group, many traditionalists have been worried about the potential loss of one of Scotland’s historic brands.

For the intention of CYBG after its takeover of Virgin Money is to rebrand all its Clydesdale and Yorkshire branches with the Virgin name, labels and decor to capitalise on the popularity of the Virgin brand established by Sir Richard Branson in the late 1960s.

Fears have been expressed that even though Virgin Money – created by Branson in 1995 and which then took over the collapsed Northern Rock institution – will be headquartered in Glasgow, the Clydesdale name would disappear along with its banknotes.

Clydesdale Bank has been around since 1838 and though it was never of the scale of main competitors the Royal Bank of Scotland and the Bank of Scotland, nevertheless it has always had the right to print its own banknotes – the bank issued its first notes on its opening day of business.

After the Bank of England gained the monopoly on English and Welsh banknotes in 1844, Scotland retained its note-issuing rights.

The Committee of Scottish Bankers reports on its website: “Today, the combined circulation value of notes issued by the authorised banks in Scotland is in the region of £3.5 billion. In accordance with the terms of the 2009 Act and the associated Banknote Regulations and Rules, issuing banks require to fully back their notes at all times with ring-fenced assets held partly in Bank of England notes and UK coin and partly in deposits held at the Bank of England.

“This, of course, means that holders of banknotes issued by the Scottish banks receive the same level of protection as that provided to holders of Bank of England notes. The three note issues remain popular and some banks, from time to time, issue specially designed commemorative notes to mark, for example, a special anniversary or notable achievement.

“Alongside the right to issue its own notes goes the responsibility to dispose of them when they have completed their useful life. The notes used to be burnt, under strictest security and in quantities often exceeding £1 million, at the Banks’ Head Offices. In these days of more environmental awareness the notes are now granulated and the paper is recycled.”

So is it the end for Clydesdale notes and the arrival of Virgin tenners? The BBC reported that the issue of the banknotes would have to be discussed with the Bank of England and there’s plenty of time as the merger process will last three years.

It was suggested, however, that the faces of the famous Scots who appear on the current notes would be replaced with pictures of Richard Branson.

One well known City blogger wrote: “Clydesdale Bank’s decision to rebrand itself Virgin Money following its £1.7bn takeover of the brand – eventually paying Sir Richard Branson £15m a year for the privilege – carries one potential ramification for the Scots. Since Scottish bank notes are issued by the banks, Virgin Money fivers and tenners will soon likely be in circulation. Clydesdale’s notes carry images of Robert the Bruce and Robert Burns, but would you bet against Virgin Money’s bearing Beardie’s grinning visage?”

King Robert the Bruce is the face of Clydesdale on its £20 note, resplendent in his armour – surely Branson could not replace our hero?

The National swung into action. Actually we just phoned the Clydesdale who told us: “There are no plans to phase out or change our banknotes at present.” Phew.