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B&B profits up but jobs to go

Bradford & Bingley is axing 500 staff as part of a cost-cutting drive

despite seeing profits rise by 22 per cent in the half-year to June.

Profits rose to £119.7m from £98.1m in the six months to

December but the former building society said it inten-ded to slash jobs in

a bid to save £30m by the end of 2002 through rationalising its

operating centres.

The news comes following the 300 redundancies that B&B made in February

when it closed more than 50 of its branches and estate agencies.

B&B, which floated on the London Stock Exchange last December, said it had

prospered during its first few months as a plc and was pleased with the

growth of Charcol Online and its specialist lender Mortgage Express.

Charcol Online saw mortgage completions treble in the half-year to June to

£207m from £69m over the same period in 2000 while Mortgage

Express&#39 lending balances rose by 36 per cent to £4.1bn from

£3bn.

B&B also said its programme of transforming its branch network into

independent advice centres, called The Marketplace at Bradford & Bingley,

was proving to be a success.

Group chief executive Christopher Rodrigues says: “The business has

prospered in its first six months as a plc. We will continue our investment

programme in the second half of the year while keeping a weather eye on

economic conditions and their impact on prospects for retail financial

services and the housing market.”

Pretty Technical Partnership partner Kim North says: “B&B looks as though

it is prepared to continue to sacrifice staff for increased profits but

this is indicative of how financial services is going at the moment.”

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