March 4 2015 Latest news:
Ben Woods, Business writer
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Norwich & Peterborough’s current account maybe introduced to its sister building societies after successfully drawing in customers with its deal on international purchases.
Chris Pilling, group chief executive, said plans to bolster the building societies mortgage lending capability were working, while moves were underway to revamp 46 regional branches as part of a major investment drive.
It came as Yorkshire Building Society – which merged with N&P in 2011 – said it strengthened its position as a “trusted alternative” to the big banks after a record pre-tax profit of £199.3m for last year.
The UK’s second largest building society said gross lending was £6.8bn, up 48pc, and net lending more than trebled to £2bn.
The results were a welcome reprieve to revelations earlier this month that the group would have to spend £8.4m refunding nearly 34,000 of its customers, after some were wrongly charged for failing to keep up with mortgage payments.
Mr Pilling said the current accounts offer of free overseas debit card purchases had been popular with customers and could be introduced elsewhere.
He said: “The N&P brand is very important to our business, giving us a step change presence in East Anglia, and what we have managed to do since it came into our group a couple of years ago is to get the branch network in a position where we could sell some more mortgages.
“And it has made a good contribution to our lending in our latest set of results, although this has been modest compared to the rest of the group.
“We have also grown the number of people that are working for us by adding 40 new staff to our workforce – with most of those going to our head office in Peterborough.
“We are carrying out a refurbishment programme for our Norwich and Peterborough branches, as well as investing in more marketing for the brand.
“ We have got a significant investment programme across the country to bring our branches up to spec.”
With a reputation as one of the toughest people in business, many stores would shudder at the thought of getting the Mary Portas treatment.