A&L and AfI to slash number of regional offices

Abbey for Intermediaries and Alliance & Leicester plan to scale back their number of regional offices from 10 to two.

Eight regional offices will be lost over a two-year period as part of a restructuring of the Abbey and A&L intermediary brands.

Two super-sites in Glasgow and Manchester will be created during this period. These will operate in addition to the existing A&L processing site in Belfast.

The restructure could mean up to 75 job losses, 26 of which are BDM roles. AfI employs 55 BDMs and A&L has 20. The first regional offices to be closed will be in Birmingham and St Albans.

Clive Kornitzer, chief operating officer for Abbey and A&L inter-mediary businesses, says: “Brokers will benefit from an integrated sales force whereby they will have a single contact with access to information on complementary and competitive mortgage products across both brands.

“This will save time and make it easier for brokers to find the right products for their customers’ needs.”

He adds: “It is important to note that the proposed changes are not a consequence of the prevailing economic climate. We recently announced excellent full-year results and completed two substantial acquisitions.”

But Ronnie Forrest, a Glasgow-based consultant with mortgage-force, is not convinced of the benefit of super-sites.

He says: “All brokers prefer to deal with knowledgeable, local contacts who can judge cases on their merits. Large centres lead to automatons following scripts and no coherent conversations or sense of support.”

And Danny Lovey, proprietor of The Mortgage Practitioner, says: “It’s an insult to our intelligence to say we will benefit from this. We prefer regional centres because staff know what they are talking about.”