Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

B&B to Shut Down 90 Branches in Bid to Slash Costs

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

B&B to Shut Down 90 Branches in Bid to Slash Costs

Article excerpt

Byline: JOANNE HART

BRADFORD & Bingley is closing almost 90 branches and cutting its headcount by up to 400 in an effort to cut costs two months after converting from a building society to a bank.

The move will cost about [pound]8 million.

B&B's closures involve shutting down 58 estate agencies and 11 former building society offices. There are also plans to merge 20 estate agency and financial services outlets where they are close together.

"We will be left with just over 500 branches which is what we have always said we feel comfortable with," said chief executive Christopher Rodrigues.

B&B, which bought mortgage broker John Charcol last year, is in the throes of transforming itself into a third-party financial services provider and will be launching "The Marketplace" in its branches on 23 March.

Today, Rodrigues was scathing about the mortgage war between Nationwide and Halifax. "The reality is, this is a lot of smoke," he said. "At Charcol, we have identified five products that are better than either Nationwide's or the Halifax's."

The bank, which has nearly 1.5 million shareholders, today disappointed the City with full-year figures below expectations. Its first annual results as a public company show pre-tax profits excluding exceptional items up 25% to [pound]231 million. …

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