BM pulls the plug on 48 of its 67 branches

Birmingham Midshires has revealed that it’s set to pull the plug on 48 of its 67 branches, through a phased programme concluding in March 2006.

Following completion of the closure programme, existing BM based branch customers will have the option of banking at their nearest Halifax branch, the majority of which are within 300 metres of the BM’s branch.

The other 19 BM branches will become Halifax outlets.

In addition, BM branch customers who would like to continue to have branch access will, for the first time, be able to use any of the 1,100 Halifax and Bank of Scotland banking outlets throughout the UK.

BM says it is not closing any branch where it is the only banking provider in town.

All of the relevant 470 full and part time BM employees will be offered an alternative role at the company or within the wider Halifax branch network.

All of BM’s mortgage business is already conducted through the direct and intermediary channels, with mortgages last offered in BMS branches in 2003.

And some 98% of the company’s new savings business is done by post or by telephone.

When BM became part of the Halifax Group in April 1999, it had savings balances of 5.9bn and mortgage assets of 9.2bn.Its savings balances have since doubled since then to 12bn and mortgage assets have more than trebled to over 32bn.

BM customers can operate their existing account via the post or telephone, as the majority already do.

Alternatively, if they prefer branch access they can move to a Halifax account and use the nearby branch or any of the Group’s UK banking outlets.

If customers choose to move to a Halifax account, they will have access to a wider product range than that currently available through the BM branch network.

The Halifax product range includes bank accounts, general insurance and investment products, travel and money services, credit cards and personal loans.

Nigel Stockton, managing director of BM, says: “This is the right decision for Birmingham Midshires and its customers.

“The majority of our customers, who do not require a branch service, will be able to operate their accounts by telephone, post or Internet.

“Those customers that want a counter service will have access to a bigger branch network and a wider product range. All our colleagues will be offered alternative roles.”