Newcastle Building Society Set To Close Dumfries Branch

The North East of Englands largest building society is closing it’s Dumfries Branch as part of its strategic decision to focus on its heartland area, which incorporates North East England and Cumbria, the Society’s branch in Dumfries  will close later in the year. 

Measures have been put in place to support staff and assist customers when the branch closes in September. The Society has begun consultations with the affected staff.

Following the recent relocation and upgrade in Darlington to create a purpose-built branch and financial advice centre, Newcastle Building Society has now revealed plans to invest in the relocation or refurbishment of three other branches – in Durham later this year, and Carlisle and Berwick, which will be completed over the next 18 months.

Andrew Haigh, chief executive at Newcastle Building Society, says: “We are committed to our heartland area and are continuing to invest in a modern High Street branch network that is fit for the future and designed around the needs of our customers. 
“Our latest branch investments are complemented by additional investment in digital and telephony options to support the first class service we aim to provide through whichever channels our customers choose to connect with us.
“Branch closures are always regrettable. The changes we’re making are in line with our strategic focus on our heartland, and we will ensure that customers and staff in these two locations are fully supported through the closure process.
“We are here to deliver a strong, sustainable building society for our members. Our roots are in the North East, and we are committed to focusing on, and supporting communities in our region where we seek to have a long-term positive impact.”

Commenting on the recent announcement of the closure of the Newcastle Building Society in Dumfries, South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said:

This is another major blow for our High Street and the third separate bank to close local branches in the region. Although it is deeply troubling for our High Street to lose yet another business, I am concerned about the impact on loyal customers of The Newcastle Building Society, many who will been with the company for years now face having to travel to England just to visit their nearest bank. It will also be devastating news for the staff team so our thoughts are very much with them and their families. I hope they will get the chance to relocate to the nearest branch in Carlisle. When you listen to the company saying that they are closing their Dumfries and Gibraltar branches to focus on their north of England heartlands, you wonder if they actually know Dumfries is just over the border.
Given the sheer number of bank closures across our region, the UK Government should do more to avoid closures .  Research shows that when a bank or building society closes in an area,  lending to small businesses drops and it significantly diminishes the abilities of households to access even basic financial services. The law should be changed so that banks and building societies would need the approval of the Financial Conduct Authority before it could close a branch. A closure should only be allowed after banks have consulted customers and the local council and published details of the reasons for closure, including the revenues and costs of the branch in question.”

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