Saturday, August 15, 2020

The Nottingham enters alliance with Belvoir Group and announces branch closures

The Nottingham has revealed a raft of changes as it enters into a strategic alliance with Belvoir Group PLC.

The alliance will see the closure of three standalone estate agency branches, three combined building society and estate agency branches, and impact a number of field based and central support roles.

The proposed branch locations for closure are: Enderby; Syston; Western Park; Market Harborough; Chatteris; and Wisbech.

The Society has also reviewed its wider branch network, and “in response to changing consumer behaviour and members accessing services in different ways,” will merge eight of its branches. These are: Wollaton Park; Firth Park; Carlton Hill; Groby; Netherfield;
Sherwood; Ruddington; and Harpenden. The Society is also proposing to close its
Huntingdon branch as “there isn’t a suitable local branch for it to merge with.”

Chief Executive Officer of The Nottingham, David Marlow, said: “After great consideration, we believe the model in our members’ best interest and for the long term success and sustainability of the Society is to deliver an estate agency and lettings proposition through an expert partner.

“We already successfully use this approach for a number of services delivered to members and the strategic alliance we are undertaking with the Belvoir Group not only provides a continuation of service to the majority of our members, but brings greater opportunities to work closely together to boost the reach of our combined national networks.

“Whilst the transfer of our operations to the Belvoir Group marks the end of an era of us being our own estate agency, we’re confident it’s a positive move for the Society and our members.”

Dorian Gonsalves, Chief Executive Officer of the Belvoir Group said: “This is an exciting and
mutually beneficial opportunity for both companies. Similar to the Nottingham, Belvoir
originated in the East Midlands, and our Central Office is still based in Grantham.
Furthermore, Belvoir and The Nottingham share the same ethos of ensuring that the
customer is always at the centre of everything within the business.

“This strategic alliance allows our Group brands, which consist of Belvoir, Newton Fallowell,
Northwood and Lovelle, to provide all Nottingham members with a seamless estate agency
service, either from our shared or stand-alone locations throughout the UK. This alliance
also enables our franchisees to open in new locations, further increasing the Group’s
footprint.”

The vast majority of the Society’s estate agency and lettings activity will transfer over to the Belvoir Group and it will cease trading as its own estate agency and lettings operation for new business by the end of August.

Marlow continued: “The transfer will impact a number of our team members and we have
already spoken to them all personally and will ensure they are fully supported through this
process. From the outset our key priority has been to protect as many jobs as possible and
we are working closely with the Belvoir Group franchisees on the details of the transfer and
the opportunities it presents for our team members.”

David Marlow added: “Like many other businesses, As a consequence of the
pandemic we have seen consumer behaviour changing significantly with members
increasingly looking to manage their finances through digital channels, which has become
essential for some during the pandemic.

“We are in a very different place to where we were a few years ago and post-pandemic we don’t anticipate that every member will revert back to using branches as they did before. In addition to this, we know that younger customers favour a digital solution.

“To stay relevant and grow our membership we must adapt and change the way we deliver
our purpose of helping our members save for, plan and protect their financial futures, whilst
reflecting how our members live and what they expect from us now and for years ahead.

“We remain absolutely committed to our branch network and we genuinely believe that
branches continue to have a key role on the high street to support our members – that is
why we continue to have a significantly larger branch network for a building society of our
size, even after these changes. We will be investing in improvements in the newly merged
branches, as well as implementing new working practices, such as new opening hours, to
improve the member experience.

“In total the proposed changes will affect around 120 roles and we have spoken personally
to team members affected. Whilst we will seek to offer redeployment opportunities from
across the society and choice to impacted team members wherever we can it is inevitable
that there will not be roles for everyone impacted and are therefore offering job support
packages where people do leave the business.”

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