More jobs to go in C&G merger

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The Independent Online
NEARLY half the staff of Heart of England Building Society are expected to lose their jobs when it is taken over by Cheltenham & Gloucester Building Society at the beginning of October.

The figure is substantially higher than envisaged by C&G when the merger was announced in May.

Staff and members of the Leeds Permanent and National & Provincial building societies will view the development with trepidation as detailed discussions over their societies' planned merger get under way.

Heart of England has about 450 employees and 200 have been given notice although it is still hoped that some will be found jobs within C&G. Nearly 140 jobs will be lost from Heart of England's Warwick head office, which is to be closed.

The society's staff association refused to comment, but one employee said the news had been met with 'a very mixed range of emotions'.

Nearly 30 of the society's 50 branches are to be closed and 20 per cent of the society's 250,000 members will have their accounts moved.

Members voted in favour of the merger on 8 June but Mike Travis, chief executive of Heart of England, said it would not have been possible to give a clear indication of the redundancies or branch closures before now. Mr Travis is to become a regional director of C&G. He said other directors of Heart of England were staying on for at least a year to oversee the changes and protect the interests of staff and members.

Staff have been offered larger redundancy settlements than those provided for in Heart of England's standard package. They are to receive up to three years' salary instead of the standard maximum of two. The average salary is pounds 10,000.

Bradford & Bingley, Britain's seventh-largest building society, increased pre-tax profits in the first half of this year by more than 50 per cent to pounds 58.8m. In the first half of 1992 the society made pounds 38.9m. Newcastle Building Society made pounds 6.4m before tax in the first half, up from pounds 5.9m.

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