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The Nottingham Building Society to move into Norwich and Peterborough Building Society premises in Thetford, Fakenham and Dereham

PUBLISHED: 10:15 20 July 2017 | UPDATED: 16:14 20 July 2017

Norwich and Peterborough Building Society, Plumstead Road, Norwich. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Norwich and Peterborough Building Society, Plumstead Road, Norwich. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Nottingham Building Society has secured the future of 50 jobs by announcing it is to open seven branches in towns where its rival Norwich and Peterborough Building Society (N&P) is withdrawing.

Nottingham Building Society has secured the future of 50 jobs by announcing it is to open seven branches in towns where its rival Norwich and Peterborough Building Society (N&P) is withdrawing.

It will launch in Thetford, Fakenham and Dereham in Norfolk, as well as Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, and said all staff at the affected branches would have jobs with the new chain, should they want them.

The deal is not a takeover however, and N&P said it would not have a hand in recruitment for the new branches.

“The Nottingham is keen for the majority of staff currently working at these branches to become its employees, recognising their importance to their local communities,” a spokesman for the Nottingham said.

It comes after Yorkshire Building Society announced in January that it would shut 28 East Anglian N&P branches, rebrand 20 more and call time on the N&P brand after 157 years, resulting in the loss of 136 jobs.

The Nottingham’s move bucks the trend of branch closures in the industry as customers handle their finances online, and chief executive David Marlow said he hoped to open even more market town branches.

He said: “Around 26% of the country’s bank branches have closed over the past five years, and as this trend continues our proposition becomes even more appealing and our business gets stronger.

“Branch closures are leading to more people finding it difficult to access face-to-face advice and service when it comes to dealing with key financial issues in their lives.

“This is particularly true in market towns, where much of our focus is placed. Sadly there are now as many as 1,500 towns in the UK that used to have branches but no longer do.”

MORE: This is when each Norwich and Peterborough Building Society branch in East Anglia will close

Mike Sketch of Yorkshire Building Society welcomed the move for representing “an excellent job opportunity for our colleagues affected by the closures”.

He added: “We are committed to supporting these colleagues in finding alternative employment, whether that’s within the [Yorkshire Building Society] Group or elsewhere, and this could present an opportunity for our colleagues with the knowledge and skills required to secure new roles with another organisation.

“We will proactively be sending affected colleagues details of how to apply for any roles that may become available. We won’t be involved in any aspect of the recruitment and selection process.”

The other branches to be opened by the Nottingham will be in Spalding, Stamford and Bourne in Lincolnshire.

The chain has seen exponential growth in recent years, doubling its branch network to 67 in five years and taking on a further 19 from rivals since 2013. It said some of these branches have proven to be its most successful, and claims to have “reinvented” the services it offers in-branch.

What will happen to the branches?

The branches in Dereham, Fakenham and Thetford were due to close on Friday, November 10. The move by the Nottingham to open new branches with the same staff, where possible, will mean a rebranding is required.

The Nottingham has not provided exact dates for that rebranding, nor whether the branches will be closed in the interim.

What about current account holders?

As well as closing branches, N&P announced in January that it would be closing its current account service, because it was proving too expensive for it to run.

That left 100,000 accounts needing to be transferred to a new bank or building society, though many account holders were angry that N&P was not a member of the seven-day current account switching service (CASS), meaning that they were not eligible for lucrative sweeteners offered by other providers.

In practice, however, many have relaxed their rules and offered enticements in an attempt to prise N&P customers to open accounts with them.

The Nottingham has said that N&P current account holders who want to open its current account will have to reapply – no financial products or accounts will be transferred automatically.

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