Yorkshire Building Society ready to welcome Yorkshire Bank customers

Yorkshire Building Society said it will warmly welcome any Yorkshire Bank customers who decide to jump ship once the bank changes its name to Virgin Money.

Yorkshire Building Society opened84,529 new savings accountsover the first half

Yorkshire Bank is to change its name to Virgin Money in late 2019 following parent company CYBG’s £1.7bn takeover of Virgin Money last year.

Mike Regnier, chief executive of Yorkshire Building Society, said: “We’ll be honoured to be the only financial services provider with Yorkshire in the name and if anyone with Yorkshire Bank wants to stay with an organisation with Yorkshire in the name, we’d be very happy to talk to them obviously.

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“We have 53 branches and agencies in Yorkshire. If anyone with Yorkshire Bank wants to come and talk to us, they’ve got 53 different towns they can come to.”

When asked if it was a mistake by Yorkshire Bank to change its name, Mr Regnier said: “It’s their decision. We’ve retired some famous brands as well.

“It’s a sad day when we lose any of these proud Yorkshire brands. People in Yorkshire have very strong values. We’re very proud to be a Yorkshire business and we have a very strong sense of identity as well.

“The Yorkshire ticket for us is really important because Yorkshire is all about commitment and long term sustainability. It’s about trustworthiness and being simple and straightforward. These values definitely resonate with what Yorkshire is about generally.

“We know that our brand recognition is high. Our brand resonance is high and our members understand what we stand for.”

Mr Regnier was speaking as Yorkshire Building Society said it has made a strong start to 2019 in a challenging market.

The society reported a 14 per cent decline in pre-tax profit to £76.5m in the six months to June 30. However, this was due to timing issues and the bank pointed to its core operating profit, which rose 13 per cent to £97.5m.

Mr Regnier said: “Our core operating profit is up. The pre-tax profit is down due to accounting differences and will come back.”

The society said it maintained steady levels of mortgages and savings growth.

It opened 84,529 new savings accounts over the first half and increasing savings balances to £30.3bn.

Mr Regnier said: “I’m pleased to announce the society has made a strong start to 2019.

“We have continued to focus on our core purpose of helping people to secure and maintain a place they call home, to build financial resilience and to do so in a way that maintains the society’s long-term financial stability. We’ve been doing this for 150 years, but it’s particularly important at a time when many people are facing very real challenges such as housing affordability, a decade of low interest rates in the savings market and passing wealth between generations.”

He said the society’s strong financial health is a reflection of its disciplined approach.

“We have continued to lower our costs to ensure we’re giving members good value for money, resulting in a reduction in our underlying management expenditure,” he said.

The society said it is working with employers and communities to deliver financial well-being and education. As well as offering direct-from salary savings schemes to build better financial resilience across Britain’s workforce, it also delivered financial education sessions through its Money Minds scheme to 3,310 young people across the country.

Customer satisfaction remained a key priority for the group, which reported a 24 per cent increase in its Net Promoter Score to +51 from +41 six months ago.

The society continued to enhance its digital capabilities, improving the navigation on its website, launching a new web chat platform for direct mortgages and savings customers, and simplifying processes to remove paper.

It has continued to offer savings rates which were typically 0.37 per cent higher than the market average.

“We’ve managed to maintain the value for members. That’s very important to our savers,” said Mr Regnier.