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Nationwide Building Society puts 470 staff on redundancy notice

<span>Photograph: Paul Faith/PA</span>
Photograph: Paul Faith/PA

Nationwide Building Society has told nearly 500 staff they are at risk of redundancy, just weeks before the Christmas holidays.

The cuts are part of a sweeping restructuring programme, launched under its chief executive, the former TSB boss Debbie Crosbie, which is meant to “streamline” head office operations by changing reporting lines or slashing jobs. The exercise will ultimately affect 1,000 staff.

The overhaul will mostly affect employees across the lender’s chief operating office, retail operations and its mortgages and financial wellbeing division, with about 470 people expected to be at risk of being made redundant.

News of the cuts comes days after it emerged that Crosbie was forcing Nationwide’s 13,000 staff – particularly those who do not work in branches – to return to the office, rescinding a “work anywhere policy” launched under her predecessor, Joe Garner, during the pandemic. It will require most staff to be in an office for at least 40% of their contract, or two days a week for a full-time employee, from early next year.

Nationwide, which is headquartered in Swindon, informed workers of the latest redundancies late last month, and has since entered into consultations with staff, who will have the chance to volunteer themselves for severance. Most cuts will be compulsory, however, and the society estimates that about 200 staff will ultimately lose their jobs by the end of March.

The general secretary of the Nationwide Group staff union, Tim Rose, said he was “disappointed” by the job losses.

“Although our experience of change programmes suggests that some impacted employees will welcome the chance to leave Nationwide with a severance package and pursue new opportunities, many will be extremely anxious about their future, particularly at a time of economic uncertainty and cost of living pressures,” the union told staff in a recent newsletter. “This will doubtless extend beyond the group directly impacted by these proposals.”

A Nationwide spokesperson said the building society had “worked hard to keep the number of affected colleagues to a minimum and are ensuring we provide the right support for those impacted”.

“Our strategy is to give customers greater value, better products and a distinctive customer experience,” the spokesperson added. “To do this our systems and operations must be best-in-class and we need to be more agile and efficient.

“We are streamlining some of our head office teams and expect around 200 people to leave the society. This will enable us to increase investment in the value and service we provide our customer-facing colleagues will not be impacted.”

The cuts come amid a wider jobs bloodbath across Britain’s high street lenders. Lloyds last week confirmed a Guardian report that the banking group was putting about 2,800 staff at risk of redundancy as part of a cost-cutting exercise that will mean axing some middle-management roles including analyst and product management posts.

Barclays is also working on plans to axe up to 2,000 jobs in a £1bn cost-cutting drive, after the bank’s bosses warned of the need to restructure to boost profits and dividend payments to shareholders. The main division expected to be targeted is known internally as Barclays Execution Services, or BX, which provides central support for its retail banking and international operations.