Norwich & Peterborough Building Society branches in Leiston, Southwold and Bungay set to close

A file photograph of the Norwich & Peterborough Building Society in Leiston.

A file photograph of the Norwich & Peterborough Building Society in Leiston. - Credit: Archant

The Yorkshire Building Society Group is planning to axe the Norwich & Peterborough Building Society brand and to close nearly 50 branches, including three in Suffolk.

The group, which acquired the Norwich & Peterborough (N&P) in 2011, also plans to close its N&P-branded current account to existing customers as part of a stragegy to focus solely on the Yorkshire Building Society (YBS) brand.

A staff consultation has been launched on proposals to close 28 N&P branches and 20 YBS branches from September this year. This would leave the group with 260 branches and agencies, including 17 current N&P branches which will be rebranded.

The planned N&P closures, which include branches in Leiston, Southwold and Bungay, represent more than half of the current N&P-branded estate. YBS said 10 jobs were at risk at the three Suffolk branches, 180 across East Anglia as a whole and 440 in total.

It said the proposals were “designed to deliver better long-term value” to its 3.3m customers”, enabling it to focus on one high street brand and continue to invest in its core mortgages and savings businesses.

The group added that it would be contacting current account customers “to outline what these proposals mean for their specific circumstances”.

Chief executive Mike Regnier said: “As a mutual, it is important that we always act in the best long-term interests of our membership and evolve the business in line with their changing needs.

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“We believe these proposals give us greater focus on providing existing and future members with the things they want from us most: a safe place for their savings and funding to buy their own home, and providing these in an easy and simple way.”

“We remain fully committed to providing the face-to-face service that many of our members value and are planning to maintain a strong and sustainable national branch network.

“The driving forces behind the proposed branch closures are shifts in market conditions and an increasing desire among customers to transact digitally rather than on the high street. We therefore no longer believe it is the right commercial position for us to continue to maintain these 48 branches across the N&P and Yorkshire network.”

Mr Regnier added: “Although we understand the proposal may be disappointing to current account customers, it follows thorough research and assessment. We believe the level of investment required would not represent good long-term value for the wider membership.

“The Norwich & Peterborough brand has been part of Yorkshire Building Society since 2011 and, inevitably, some of our colleagues and members will be disappointed by these proposals.

“The values of the N&P and Yorkshire brands are synonymous and we believe operating with Yorkshire Building Society as our sole high street brand would allow us to run the business more effectively and efficiently, enabling us to deliver better products and services for our members.”