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Charcol faces directors&#39 revolt over B&B move

John Charcol is facing a rebellion among its branch directors who fear

being sidelined when the company is incorporated into Bradford & Bingley&#39s

branch network.

Specialist financial services law firm Armstrong Neal is being drafted in

by three out of nine branch directors to negotiate with senior Charcol

officials.

The nine directors cover the mortgage specialist&#39s 15 branches and 165 RIs.

Four more directors are expected to join the coalition to ensure B&B does

not undermine the business potential of Charcol branches when the society

gains access to its exclusive mortgage range in September.

A Charcol employee who wished to remain anonymous has spoken to Money

Marketing about staff concerns. He says: “The communication has not been

good, it is looking very uncertain. We do not know how we are going to work

with B&B and how we are going to differentiate ourselves in the

marketplace.”

Another source close to the branch directors says the crux of the problem

is if B&B can sell Charcol&#39s exclusive products, it will be direct

competition.

Some directors believe it is a breach of contract as staff have worked to

build up the business and feel they could be neglected in the new strategy.

Armstrong Neal partner Gareth Fatchett says: “Our clients feel they were

promised things which are now being forgotten. B&B are planning to offer

something which will compete directly with them.”

But John Charcol managing director and Bradford & Bingley commercial

direc-tor Ian Darby says: “Integration does not happen overnight and we are

only three months in. We are working through the positive impact and the

possible negative impact.

“We have been as clear as we can about what the finalised plans will be,

with the ultimate objective to increase the distribution of John Charcol&#39s

proposition.”

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