Building society keeps on growing its branches.
Byline: Graemewhitfield Business editor email@example.com @Graemewhitfield
THE North East's largest building society is continuing its investment in its branch network with the opening of two new sites.
Newcastle Building Society is to open a branch in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, taking over the site of a former Virgin Money store and increasing its number of branches in the region to 31.
The society is also planning to take over the former Virgin Money store in Whitley Bay, relocating from its current location on Park View to the building on Whitley Road.
The announcement of new branches comes shortly after the society announced plans to open branches in Hawes, North Yorkshire, and Wooler, Northumberland, as part of a strategy of opening physical sites in rural areas where there are no or few other banks and building societies.
The society has committed to maintaining, refurbishing and extending its branch network at a time when most other financial institutions are closing sites, especially in smaller towns and villages.
Customer director Stuart Miller said: "It's fantastic news for the society to be opening a branch in Bishop Auckland. Our branches are central to our strategy of supporting local people with friendly, face to face advice and investing in high streets in our region and the local communities in which we operate."
The new branch in Bishop Auckland will employ five full and part time customer service colleagues and the society is appealing to local people to get in touch if they are interested in one of the roles.
The society is currently in the middle of a multi-million pound branch investment programme where it has committed to either refurbishing or relocating every one of its branches by the end of this year.
Last week the society announced strong half-year results, with increased profits and mortgage lending. Operating profit before impairment and provisions increased by 18% to PS8.5m, while net core residential lending for the first half of year was PS220m.
The building society also created 41 new jobs in the first half of the year and expects that figure to top 100 by the end of 2019, in part due to new branch openings.
It's fantastic news for the society to be opening a branch in Bishop Auckland
Newcastle Building Society customer director Stuart Miller