Town’s last building society YBS faces proposed closure in March

THE Stalybridge branch of the Yorkshire Building Society has been proposed for closure in March 2018.

And the news the town is set to lose its last remaining building society has been met with disappointment from Peter Taylor, chairman of Stalybridge Business Forum.

“I have an account with the Yorkshire Building Society, but I will be moving it as I only deal with people who support Stalybridge. And I will be encouraging others to do likewise,” explained Mr Taylor.

Stalybridge has already lost the Yorkshire and Barclays banks as well as the Halifax Building Society.

“I also had an account with Barclays, but also moved that when the branch closed,” he continued.

Stalybridge has been left with banking at NatWest and Lloyds as well as the Post Office.

Mr Taylor added it is especially disappointing at a time when Stalybridge is in line for a massive regeneration.

He continued: “By the time that takes place, there will be no infrastructure in Stalybridge.

“All the car parks will have gone so there will be nowhere to park so visitors won’t come.

“Tameside Council keeps using the word ‘strategic’ but they don’t know the meaning of the word.”

Stalybridge is one of 13 planned branch closures that has followed a “thorough review of our face-to-face network” by YBS.

The company says it has looked at factors including the distance to other YBS locations, how often branches are used and what they are used for.

They argue there are five branches, including Stalybridge, within a 10-mile radius, 50 per cent of Stalybridge customers use another nearby branch, fewer people are visiting the Stalybridge branch and doing fewer transactions than the average YBS location while almost one third of Stalybridge customers also manage their accounts online or over the phone.

“When taking all of this into account, we believe that keeping this branch open isn’t cost effective or providing long-term value to our customers,” the YBS said in a leaflet to customers.

They point out the Ashton branch is 2.6 miles away while Oldham, Manchester and Stockport are all within a 10-mile radius.

YBS say the proposed changes to its high street network and office sites are designed to improve value for its members by delivering better service and greater efficiency.

The group is planning to increase the size of its national high street network over the next three years to ensure it has a more even spread of branches and agencies across the country.

The proposals would involve expanding its network into new towns and cities where there is customer demand but where the group currently has no presence, at the same time as reducing the high street network in towns and cities where there is duplication or it is highly concentrated. This would involve up to 13 proposed branch closures.

It would expect to retain a presence in all its remaining towns and cities until at least 2020. Additionally, the group is expecting to grow the overall number of high street outlets in the next three years by opening about 50 new agencies.

If the proposals go ahead, once the expansion programme is complete, the group would have around 300 outlets across the UK.

Mike Regnier, chief executive of Yorkshire Building Society Group, said: “We are a strong and financially sustainable building society and members have trusted us for more than 150 years.

“Over that time, we have evolved from a small local mutual into a secure and reliable modern financial services provider serving more than 3.2m people right across the UK.

“Face-to-face service will continue to play an important part of our offering to customers for many years, but we must continue to evolve if we are to remain relevant and competitive in today’s market.

“The proposed changes to our high street outlets and office sites will enable us to deliver better overall value for members by operating in a more cost-effective way, with the savings we make being reinvested in the business.

“If the proposals go ahead, our reformed high street network will complement our digital and telephony channels, enabling us to reach more customers and supporting them to do business with us in ways which are most convenient for them.

“We believe these proposed changes are necessary for us to continue to grow and help more people to become homeowners and have a secure place for their savings.”

 

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