YBS Group plans brand and branch changes

Yorkshire Building Society Group has announced planned changes to two of its high street brands aimed at delivering better long-term value and improved services for its 3.1m members through greater efficiencies.

The plans are part of a significant investment programme to modernise the Group’s high street presence, improve its digital service and offer members greater flexibility and choice in where they do business.

As part of the plans, Barnsley Building Society and Chelsea Building Society branches will both be rebranded Yorkshire Building Society. The plan will give all existing Barnsley, Chelsea and Yorkshire members access to a larger Yorkshire Building Society branded network of more than 250 branches and agencies.

Chelsea Building Society branded mortgages and savings accounts will also continue to be available for new members online and via the telephone.

In 18 locations where the Group currently has two branches under any of the Barnsley, Chelsea or Yorkshire brands, it is planning to merge these to serve members from one Yorkshire Building Society branch.

In addition, there are four locations in the Barnsley Building Society network where no branch will be maintained and in these areas the Group is actively pursuing opportunities to open a Yorkshire Building Society agency with local businesses.

The planned changes will be phased in with Barnsley branches rebranded as Yorkshire in July and Chelsea branches rebranded by September.

Members do not need to do anything now and will be kept fully informed as the changes are implemented.

The Group has entered consultation with 13 branch colleagues and will work with them to minimise any redundancies.

Norwich & Peterborough (N&P) Building Society branches, colleagues and members, which are also part of the Yorkshire Building Society Group, are not affected by the plans.

Chris Pilling, Chief Executive of Yorkshire Building Society, said:

Our branch network always has been, and remains, at the heart of our business, providing the face to face service that many of our members prefer.

These planned changes will make us more efficient and will deliver greater long-term value to both new and existing members. They will also help us to support the changing needs of our members.

The plans are aimed at improving the way we serve our members and it's our intention to retain a branch or agency in every location where we currently have a presence.

Our merger activity between 2008 and 2010 resulted in the Group having multiple branches in single locations and a legacy of different products from each brand, with members restricted to transacting in the branches of just one brand.

Our significant investment programme has included the transformation of our systems which now provide our members with increased flexibility and greater choice in the branches they can use - something our members have told us they want.

One in five branch customers already transact in multiple branches and by widening the choice available we expect more members will make use of this flexibility.

Our investment in our branch network will continue as we roll out a programme of refurbishments which will provide refreshed and modern spaces for our members to do business.

A key priority of these plans was to ensure we delivered the changes with minimum impact on colleagues. As a result, we will, wherever possible, avoid redundancies with the majority of colleagues involved in the plans simply moving to a new branch in the same location.

This is about improving and growing our business. Therefore, in almost all cases, members will continue to get the same excellent service from the same people, using their same accounts and passbooks, but in an improved branch environment.

We are committed to delivering our market-leading customer service across the Group and these changes, combined with our on-going investment in the business, will help us achieve that and further develop as a modern mutual.

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