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Skipton restructure puts 90 jobs in the firing line

Skipton Building Society has announced a restructuring of its business which could result in the loss of 90 jobs.

Changes include the establishment of a new management retail board that will focus on customers, products and service delivery.

The society says the board will also identify opportunities to extend the society’s reputation for providing long-term value to members.

The announcement comes as Skipton’s chief executive David Cutter gave Lending Strategy an exclusive insight into the society’s 2009 results.

In an interview with Lending Strategy’s consulting editor John Murray starting on page 20 of this issue, Cutter reveals that after gross lending fell from £2.2bn to £1.3bn between 2007 and 2008 the latest results will not show an improvement.

He says: “The downward trend we have seen has continued and we will end up lending less than £500m in terms of gross lending in 2009.”
As a result of the restructure job losses will be seen at the society’s head office in The Bailey in Skipton and at its satellite centre, Prospect House in Scarborough.

Approximately 90 roles at all levels – out of a total workforce at the society of 1,270 – are at risk.

But some 20 roles have also been created including 17 in the area of customer service, focussed on maintaining the level of service Skipton offers its members.
Other changes include the amalgamation of the society’s two Leeds branches at the Bond Street site after a review concluded that only one branch was needed to serve the city.

Several of the society’s IT support functions as well as its mortgage administration subsidiary HML will be brought together within Skipton.

This announcement follows the society’s decision to hike its SVR from 3.5% to 4.95%.

Cutter says: “This is the second stage of a plan designed to garner our business for the future.

“After the credit crunch consumers will look to firms that place them at the heart of their business and mutuals are renowned for investing for the benefit of members.”

He adds: “But tough decisions are needed to ensure we are in shape to grasp opportunities, hence the announcement of job cuts soon after our SVR decision.”

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