Bradford & Bingley axes 370 jobs; shuts processing centre

Bradford & Bingley axes 370 jobs; shuts processing centre

Troubled UK lender Bradford & Bingley (B&B) is axing 370 jobs - including 300 roles at a mortgage processing centre - as it looks to cut costs following the downturn in demand for mortgages.

The high street lender says it will shut down a processing centre in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire in the first quarter of 2009 as part of a plan to cut costs as it struggles with the "wider economic environment and the significantly reduced volume of new mortgage application".

The work currently carried out at the site will be moved to another centre in Bingley, West Yorkshire, leaving 300 staff redundant.

In addition B&B is laying off its remaining 50 mortgage advisers currently working in branches - having already axed 90 advisers this year - and is significantly reducing its intermediary sales team. More staff will go following a review of the company's head office support functions.

However, 70 jobs will be created in collections as the firm prepares for a rise in the number of customers struggling to keep up with repayments.

The cull is expected to result in annualised cost savings of £15 million with anticipated one-off costs of £14 million.

Says Richard Pym, CEO, B&B: "We are a strongly capitalised bank now undertaking a complex transition with regrettable job losses, but we are planning to put the problems of the past behind us and have a business which is fit for purpose going forward."

B&B's shares were down 2.5 pence, or 10%, to 22.5 pence in afternoon trading having earlier dropped to a low of 21.75 pence. According to press reports, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) is currently seeking out potential buyers for the lender, which has seen its share price fall around 90% in the past year.

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