Large financial services groups are increasingly looking to regional British cities and Northern Ireland to house key support divisions, including customer service, trade processing and relatively routine legal and compliance functions.

Over the past 18 months, Citigroup has moved 250 operations jobs, mostly in trade settlement, to Belfast, where they joined more than 500 IT workers.

Deutsche Bank opened a service support office in Birmingham last year and recently added a small team of lawyers there as well.

Royal Bank of Scotland’s global banking and markets division opened an operating centre in Newcastle-under-Lyme in 2006 that now employs 200 people.

Banks started thinking about UK regional cities during the boom times because competition for skilled workers was so intense in London, but lower wages and property prices mean the centres remain attractive now that the credit crunch has forced cost-cutting and lay-offs.

Financial Times