Adapting for the future
To ensure we meet the demands of our existing and future customers we have made some difficult, but necessary, decisions.
The way consumers use financial services is changing, with increasing numbers choosing digital channels for day-to-day transactions and only interacting face-to-face for larger financial decisions, whilst others continue to value the service provided by high street networks on a more regular basis. To ensure we are evolving in line with our customers’ needs, we are investing in enhancing our digital capability and have also reviewed our branch network. This demonstrated that we have a high concentration of branches in some areas, and little high street presence in other areas where there is clear customer demand.
We therefore made some difficult, but necessary, decisions in 2017 which will enable us to continue to meet our customers’ changing needs:
- We are consolidating our high street brands, with the intention of retiring the N&P brand in 2018. This will allow us to run the business more effectively and efficiently and enable us to deliver better products and services to our members.
- We made changes to our high street network to make sure we have an even spread of branches and agencies across the UK. This included closing 48 branches in 2017 and an additional 13 branches will close in 2018 in locations where we have a high concentration of branches.
- We also plan to expand our retail network into around 50 new towns and cities across the UK over the next three years, working with agency partners where there is customer demand. This approach allows us to reach new locations in a more cost effective way.
- Following these changes, we will have more high street outlets per £1bn of assets than many other financial services providers.
- In addition to the changes to our high street network, we withdrew our N&P current account from the market. The level of investment required to maintain and extend the service to new customers would not have represented good long-term value for our members.
- These changes are alongside a phased closure of our Cheltenham office site by 2019.
Whilst these decisions allow us to focus on and develop our core activities, delivering our vision of being simply brilliant at mortgages and savings, we understand that this can be unsettling for members and colleagues.
To minimise the impact, we work closely with other financial services organisations to ensure we make the transition as easy as possible for our customers. We take additional steps, including telephone calls to ensure our customers are aware of the changes and that, where necessary, they are supported with any actions they need to take.
We continue to support colleagues impacted by these changes, in particular those who are put at risk of redundancy by:
- Appointing a dedicated redeployment team, with the sole focus of finding colleagues new roles within YBS, which we have so far successfully achieved for 51 colleagues at risk of redundancy out of 310.
- Working with Nottingham Building Society to ensure their vacancies were presented to our branch colleagues facing redundancies, which led to 23 of them being offered a role.
- Creating a career portal to help colleagues secure a new role, within the Group or elsewhere, by providing guidance and support with CV writing, interview skills and learning courses to help them develop in areas of interest.
- Giving colleagues access to one-to-one career planning sessions from professional career coach network LHH Penna and to a 24-hour Employee Assistance Helpline which can provide legal advice and counselling.
During any periods of change we strive to ensure that all those affected are dealt with fairly and sensitively, and we remain committed to doing the right thing for our members and colleagues.