Newcastle cuts jobs and closes four branches

Newcastle Building Society, the UK’s eighth largest building society, has announced it is making 126 redundancies and closing four branches as it looks to cut costs and streamline the business.

The job cuts come as part of a wider company restructure involving a capital strengthening programme which completed on May 10.

The branches to be closed are Crook, County Durham; Yarm, Stockton-on-Tees; West Road, Newcastle; and York.

Job losses will be concentrated on the back office and management roles with the aim of maintaining the current numbers of customer facing staff.

But Newcastle says that it is able to create approximately 80 customer service vacancies in Newcastle’s Strategic Solutions division, which handles financial services outsourcing, following a contract win.

Jim Willens, chief executive of the Newcastle, says: “Our core strategy of providing long-term member value as a strong, traditional and independent regional building society is clear in our minds. However to remain strong we need to be realistic in the knowledge that this is still a very challenging climate for the financial services sector.

“We have to make some difficult decisions but these will benefit the society and the majority of its staff in the long-term.

“We believe that by operating with a slightly smaller number of branches and reduced levels of staff in certain areas of our business it will allow us to streamline costs and become more efficient. Additionally, it will allow us to focus on the things that are important to us being a regional independent building society; such as providing value and choice to members.”

Newcastle entered into a 90-day consultation yesterday with trade union Unite regarding the proposed redundancies.