Scottish Building Society bucks trend with opening of £500k Aberdeen branch

Scottish Building Society – which says it is the world’s oldest such organisation – is boosting its bricks-and-mortar presence with the opening of a £500,000 branch in Aberdeen.

The organisation has completed the refit of a three-storey office block on the corner of Union Street and Holburn Street, in a bid to support existing customers and drive new business in the region. It opens tomorrow.

Initially, it will have a staff of four, led by business relationship manager Alan Chapman and NE business development manager Douglas Sharpe – who both have at least 30 years’ experience working in financial services.

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Mr Chapman said: “It seems counter-intuitive to be opening offices at a time when the world seems to be going online. However, given we have thousands of members in the North-east, we want to ensure they get the best of both worlds – the opportunity to talk to us face to face if they wish, or use our digital and mortgage savings service SBS online.

The organisation said it wants to offer its members in the region the opportunity to talk to its staff face to face. Picture: Richard Frew Photography & Film.

“Our traditional approach to how we treat our new and existing members is one we take great pride in and this, combined with digital capability, will continue to keep the society relevant.”

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Mr Sharpe said the society acknowledged the different challenges faced in the region, particularly in the oil industry. He added: “We are currently seeing a strong demand for self-build mortgages, particularly across the North-east, one of only a few lenders in this segment.

“Our commitment to first-time buyers remains, including the provision of guarantor mortgages to help them on the property ladder or for students as an alternative to renting.”

The building society, which was established in 1848, earlier this year announced a record £74 million increase in mortgage lending and a record £58m growth in savings balances for the year to the end of January. It said that amid “extreme conditions”, pre-tax profit increased by 34 per cent to £840,000.

Chief executive Paul Denton said: “I went to school in Brechin and have fond memories of working in Aberdeen so this is a homecoming.

“The North-east has its own unique identity, and we prefer to focus on customers individual circumstances rather than that the automated one-size-fits all approach of most of the larger lenders. We look forward to supporting existing customers and welcoming new ones.”

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