The Nationwide is planning to close five mortgage processing centres with the potential loss of just over 100 jobs as part of an efficiency drive by Britain's biggest building society.
The society told staff yesterday of the intended closures yesterday at Belfast, Sevenoaks, Southampton, Rayleigh and Swansea, and entered a 30-day consultation period with its in-house union.
Nationwide said that if the closures went ahead it would try to place the staff affected in other jobs within the group. A spokeswoman said it was too early to say whether all the staff could be relocated.
On Monday, the Natiowide announced mergers with the Derbyshire and Cheshire building societies, saying it would cut jobs by combining its rivals' operations with its own. Yesterday, it said that shutting the mortgage centres was separate from the Derbyshire and Cheshire deals and was part of an efficiency drive that started last year.
The society wants to create economies of scale and to process mortgages more efficiently and quickly, the spokeswoman said. The closures would leave Nationwide, which has 19,000 staff, with six mortgage centres in Chester, Doncaster, Glasgow, Newcastle, Birmingham and Northampton.
Banks and other financial companies are clamping down on their spending as business slows along with the economy, and the credit crunch increases funding costs. HBOS, the country's biggest mortgage lender, has announced a series of cost-cutting measures, including shutting estate agents branches.
Further job cuts are expected in the financial services industry as the financial turmoil spreads to the wider economy. Estimates for total job losses in the industry are as high as 40,000.