The Gibraltar branch of the Newcastle Building Society will close down this October affecting around 11,400 customers and causing eight redundancies.The announcement of its closure was made yesterday and follows an 18 month review of the branch.
The Gibraltar Government reacted by saying it was “disappointed” with the decision especially since no prior notice had been given and no opportunity was given to influence the outcome.
“Theyhave an obligation to their loyal and faithful customers to give them significantly more timeto where necessary make alternative arrangements,” the Government said in its press statement.
Having notbeen aware of a review it would look into the circumstances as to why it was not informed of this fact earlier and regretted the fact that a press release was issued without time for the Government to be able to react proactively in any way.
The decision to close the branch on the Rock, according to the Society, is due to changes to its branch network that aims to focus on its heartland. It is understood no Gibraltar specific circumstances have prompted the closure.
A spokesman for the Newcastle Building Society told the Chronicle it is expected the eight jobs locally will be retained until its closure on October 31 and will ensure that staff members are fully supported as they work towards this date.
“The decision to close a branch is not made lightly. The changes we’re making are in line with our strategic focus on our heartland area, and we will ensure that customers and staff are fully supported as the closure process progresses,” said chief executive Andrew Haigh.
“The Newcastle Building Society hopes to work closely with the Gibraltar Government to manage the transition for customers.”
Mr Haighexpressed commitment to maintaining an ongoing dialogue throughout the process.
“We are confident that the Gibraltar economy has a strong future,” Mr Haigh said.
“Our decision to close the branch is purely a matter of geography. Over recent years we have become increasingly focused on our regional heartland – the North East of England.”
The Society will work with the Gibraltar Government to review and confirm details of the process, including the management and timeline for transition of savings and mortgages products held by customers in Gibraltar.
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