Building society boss denies problems

IPSWICH Building Society's new boss today denied reports that the society could be sold or merged due to poor performance and spiralling costs.The society has been identified it as a “poor performer” by at least one financial commentator and one of eight in the UK showing “worrying” growth and susceptible to a merger.

IPSWICH Building Society's new boss today denied reports that the society could be sold or merged due to poor performance and spiralling costs.

The society has been identified it as a “poor performer” by at least one financial commentator and one of eight in the UK showing “worrying” growth and susceptible to a merger.

However new chief executive Paul Winter, appointed last week, today revealed there are no plans to merge with another society or close any of the eight branches in Suffolk.

Mr Winter admitted costs needed to be controlled through efficiency savings and could not rule out redundancies in the future but believes the society has a rosy future.


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“I feel we are in an extremely strong position and have got a bright future,” Mr Winter said.

“Like any organisation in the current environment we will face competition and need to be careful to operate effectively and things need to be done to make sure that is the case.

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“But we have absolutely no plans to merge with anyone at all.

“Members are coming to us in record numbers thanks to our market leading products this year and last year.

“We have no plans to close branches. We are committed to our branch network in Suffolk.”

Mr Winter said the society's success is illustrated by a 10 per cent increase in members over the past 12 months - the current figure is more than 75,000.

Meanwhile the society is top of the pile when it comes to its savings account, offering an unparalleled “no-strings” interest rate of 8.25 per cent.

One thing however that Mr Winter is keen to put right is the society's costs which latest annual accounts show running at 80 per cent of income.

Mr Winter said much of this is down to the society's commitment to local branches and revealed measures are being looked into to reduce overheads.

“We need to keep costs under control and be as efficient as we can and it is something I will be focusing on over the course of the next few months,” Mr Winter said.

He said the society would look at efficiency savings and the possibility of outsourcing work - although if this happened all jobs would remain in the UK.

However Mr Winter could not rule out trimming the 120-strong work force at some stage.

“There are no redundancy plans as we speak but we need to make sure we are efficient and effective,” he said.

“We need to look at everything we are doing,” he added.

Weblink: www.ipswich-bs.co.uk

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