YORKSHIRE Building Society plans to open 12 high street branches over the next two years, as part of its commitment to provide a “face-to-face” service for its customers.
The Bradford-based mutual said it was too early to say where the branches would be based, but the move was expected to create about 54 jobs.
The Yorkshire is now the UK’s second-biggest building society after a series of deals with smaller mutuals since the financial crisis struck.
These have included mergers with Barnsley in 2008, Chelsea in 2010 and Norwich & Peterborough last year. It has also acquired the Egg mortgage and savings book and brand.
The Yorkshire is also continuing the expansion of its agency network. Fifteen agencies opened in 2011 and more are planned for this year.
The society’s chief executive Chris Pilling said yesterday; “Our branch and agency network is at the heart of Yorkshire Building Society and I’m delighted that we are able to announce this expansion when other financial institutions have been closing theirs.
“We are committed to retaining a strong presence on our high streets, providing our customers with access to a wide range of good value financial service products backed up with the exceptional personal service they value.
“Our recent merger activity highlighted the value we place on our branch network, with all the branches we acquired remaining open, even in the small number of locations where there has been an overlap with another Yorkshire branch. These mergers have seen the society grow its branch network by 65 per cent from 135 to 224 in three years.
“To ensure our members can deal with us in whatever way they choose, we will continue to invest in our award-winning internet and telephony channels. However, our primary focus is on our branches where we offer a credible and secure alternative to the high street banks.”
Last November, the Yorkshire announced plans to recruit another 120 people at its Bradford base. It leased new office space to accommodate its growing business.