Northern Rock announces branch closures

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The Independent Online

Building society-turned-bank Northern Rock is to close 29 of its poorer-performing branches, cutting 250 jobs, it said today.

Building society-turned-bank Northern Rock is to close 29 of its poorer-performing branches, cutting 250 jobs, it said today.

The news follows yesterday's plans by Barclays to close 200 branches next year.

Northern Rock, which has 105 branches, said it would close the 29 outlets, which had "declining business volumes", by the end of this year.

Its new call centre, which will be used to process mortgages, will be launched early next year.

And the new staff at Newcastle were being employed to "create higher levels of customer service across the whole range of its core business, to support e-commerce, and to meet the demands of growth," the group said.

Chief executive Leo Finn added: "The net financial cost implications of our moves will not be material. We are transferring costs from old or unwanted activities to new areas - one of our key strengths.

"Our commitment to efficiency, represented by lower cost ratios, remains undiminished."

Northern Rock said it was also in advanced talks to sell its Regency Care Homes to NHP, a leading player in the care homes sector.

And the bank said it was planning a share buy-back programme estimated at up to £150 million next year.

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