August 1 2019 @ 12:30 by Steven Hugill
Newcastle Building Society is opening a new County Durham branch as part of a multi-million-pound investment programme.
The mutual is expanding into Bishop Auckland, which will take its network of branches to 31 across the region.
Bosses say the move will create five full and part-time customer service roles.
They added the announcement further strengthens the society’s commitment to bolstering its presence on the region’s high streets and community hubs, having previously revealed it is moving into a new base in Barnard Castle, County Durham.
The mutual is also setting up operations in Hawes, North Yorkshire, and Wooler, Northumberland, with a multi-million-pound investment programme being carried out across its entire property portfolio to refurbish existing bases into modern, open-plan environments.
Its new Bishop Auckland site is on the town’s Newgate Street, in the former home of Virgin Money.
Following a planned refurbishment, bosses say the Bishop Auckland branch will deliver a modern and welcoming environment, providing customers with access to services, information, advice and private meeting spaces.
The mutual has also agreed to take over the lease on 303 Whitley Road, in Whitley Bay, in the coming weeks. It then plans to re-locate its existing branch on Park View some time towards the end of 2019/early 2020.
Stuart Miller, customer director, said the Bishop Auckland branch will strengthen the organisation’s commitment to being at the heart of the communities it serves.
He said: “Our branches are central to our strategy of supporting local people with friendly, face-to-face advice and investing in high streets in our region and the local communities in which we operate.”
Last month, the society revealed profits had risen after record mortgage lending complemented the arrival of thousands of new customers.
According to results for the six months to June 30, pre-tax profit was up 18 per cent to £8.2 million in the six months to June 30, compared to £6.9 million for the first half of 2018.
The society was helped by record gross mortgage lending of £380 million, which was an increase of 65 per cent on the first half of 2018, and a rise of more than 25,000 customers, who deposited record levels of savings.