West Bromwich Building Society moving HQ to Dudley

The West Bromwich Building Society has today confirmed it will uproot from its home of 160 years in the town and relocate its HQ and 500 staff to Dudley.

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Chief executive Jonathan Westhoff said the society was moving to the Point North development, at The Waterfront, near the Merry Hill shopping centre, in a former base of banking company egg.

There are no plans for the society to change its name after the move.

The news comes after the Express & Star revealed the society was in talks on moving from its iconic West Bromwich High Street home in January. After an extensive fit-out, it is hoped staff will move by autumn next year.

The news has been greeted with shock and anger in Sandwell and fears over staff re-location costs for its six-mile move, however bosses at Dudley Council has welcomed the move.

Mr Westhoff said: “The brand is what the society’s name represents: our goods and services, rather than a geographical location.

“We’re keeping ourselves in this heartland., keeping ourselves in our home roots.

“I really hope our members think this is a strong move for us. It gives us the necessary growth capacity for the coming years and that is the strongest message we can put out for our members and staff.”

The society has been in West Bromwich for 160 years. Bosses said its current home, in a 1970s block, was no longer fit for purpose or its future plans.

Chiefs then considered a new base at West Bromwich’s £75million Providence Place development, next to telecommunication giant BT’s regional business centre.

But bosses said the asking price was higher than anticipated and looked towards Point North, which Mr Westhoff said was ideally suited as it was designed for a financial services company.

The society has now agreed with Richardsons Capital to lease 70,000 sq ft of space at the six-tier canalside block.

Mr Westhoff said the speed of the move was central to the decision, as relocating to Providence Place would have taken 14 months’ time at the least.

He also conceded the deal with Richardsons Capital, which involved negotiations with senior figures at Dudley Council as well, was cheaper.

He said: “Over the 15-year lease it does work out better for us at Point North.”

Point North will initially accommodate around 500 staff, with room for future expansion and growth, and provide support services for the West Brom’s 38-branch network.

There will also be an administration centre providing a direct service for savings accounts, mortgages and investments.

Comments for: "West Bromwich Building Society moving HQ to Dudley"

Cookie

Will the last person to leave West Bromwich please turn off the light .....

BenjyT

And maybe all the retailers who have signed up for New Square can turn them back on?

Don't be a doomonger!

albion

It would of been nice to keep it in west brom because of all the investment going on but dudley need's a fair bit too so for that reason i hope it bring's a bit of business to the dudley area........!!

Martacus Redd

Cooper should resign over this. The Council, IMO, was hoping the Society would move to Providence Place irrespective of the cost out of a sense of loyalty to the town. But out of greed they upped the proposed rent & the society have said "Stick It".

The society has to the best for their savers, maybe Cooper should resign for the best of Sandwell

peter

Here here. The Council have driven one of the biggest private sector employers out of the town. The knock on effect on the local shops and cafes will be huge!

Baggie Boy

Is Councillor Cooper really suggesting that people should boycott the Society.

If so, then I agree that he really should consider his own position as he must realise that the Society employs a significant number of people in the Sandwell borough and therefore is he wanting them to become unemployed?

The council are clearly looking to shift the blame for the Society moving out of their borough.

The Society remains in the Black Country and Dudley Council obviously put forward a stronger business case.

Martacus Redd

I wouldn't say he's suggesting a boycott, but his rant on his blog suggests it's all WBBC fault & the council are not to blame.

He's trying to cover his own back, but IMO they have messed up big time

SANDnotsoWELL

Well said.

Mac

I understand that 'Dudley' council will benefit due to business rates. But it is not actually a move to Dudley it's just another company sucked into the artificial creation that is Merry Hill/Waterfront. Eventually all local towns will be drained of their lifeblood leaving charity shops and poundshops (and High Streets that look like those in zombie movies). You cannot really blame the firms, it's Govt (both local and national) that must try harder to find a solution. I've no doubt that Sandwell council would move to the Waterfront if the savings were attractive enough (and it wasn't election year - they would wait till that was over).

Jon Round

Get real. This is a business decision. Moving from West Brom to Dudley is hardly going to Outer Mongolia.

Good luck to the West Brom, and it's staff and stakeholders.

Kevin Bradley

A Sad day for West Bromwich and i think the board of directors at the West Brom should hang their heads in shame. Although they say there will be no rebranding give it time and im sure that will change. They were offered a prime location in West Bromwich at Providence place and have turned it down.

BenjyT

The board of directors are doing what they do best - looking out for their shareholders. If the deal at Providence Place was attractive enough then they will have signed up to move there. Why should they move somewhere that costs more money than Birmingham City Centre just out of loyalty? Its a business and without hard business decisions the new board of directors have made WBBS would have been disbanded a long time ago.

wb employee

the directors have no loyalty 2 the west brom or west bromwich only interested in profit b4 moving on 2 the next company with a large bonus as none have worked there 4 more than a few years the vast majority of workers dont want 2 move but money talks

English teacher

To be honest, if that's the level of literacy of a wb employee, maybe they can find someone in Dudley who can use something other than 'text speak'. Not only are you 'bad mouthing' your employer, you're doing it with the literacy of an 11 year old. Well done you!

glyn martin

what were you thinking of mr cooper allowing the society to move out of the town you had ample notice that they were looking for new premises and should have done obviously more than you as a council have obviously done appalling mismanagement by you and your commercial property team and to those who don,t think it matters of course it does another major employer moving out df the borough a more depleted financial sector lost opportunity for work experience and of course the geographical make up of the staff will change and become more dudley orientated hang your head in shame mr cooper and as for the building society itself what else do you expect from a society that for years has seen its reputation tarnished by bad management adding just another one is not justified by quoting how much you are going to save you are a" mutual society"started for the benefit of local people hence your title "west bromwich building society" no benefit in moving to dudley appalling mealy mouthed excuses by both you and the council

Karl Taylor

Plenty room for the Albion at the Waterfront too then I wont have so far to travel!

benjty

The West Brom will not be held to ransom, they could move sooner for less cost to Dudley than wait longer and pay more at Providence Place.

Providence place cost per sq.ft is reported to be the same as some offices in Brindley Place!

Big big loss to the town and I agree with Martacus Redd - 'The Council, IMO, was hoping the Society would move to Providence Place irrespective of the cost out of a sense of loyalty to the town.'

Theodore

I work in W Brom and Welcome the move, sandwell council dont know how to treat customers so how could they understand the needs of businesses.

sisterdora

Appears a responsible approach to managing investor's money. A shame nevertheless that it cannot remain in it's onw town

Sandwell Council

You might like to read the full statement issued by Councillor Cooper and the council regarding the West Brom's decision to move out of West Bromwich.

We offered land for the West Brom to build a new HQ in the town centre and financial terms that they couldn't have got elsewhere. But they decided to rent an existing building in Dudley, rather than build a new one in West Bromwich.

It's got nothing to do with the council asking for "more rent".

Here's the statement:

Sandwell Council Leader Councillor Darren Cooper today hit out at West Bromwich’s Building Society’s “disgraceful” decision to quit its namesake town.

The society is moving its head office to neighbouring Dudley.

Councillor Cooper said: "I believe the society is treating the people of West Bromwich and Sandwell appallingly.

"It has built its business on the back of hard working people in the area over many years, and now it is abandoning them and its own history.

"This decision is an utter disgrace.

"I hope local people will consider the society's decision to move when deciding what to do with their money."

Cllr Cooper added: "We could not have done more to keep the West Brom in the town which gave it its name.

"We bent over backwards. We offered land for both new offices and car parking at a premium location at the heart of the new town centre which is growing day by day.

"We also offered financial terms which we believe the society could not have got anywhere else.

"It has, however, decided to move to an existing building outside the borough.

"We are shocked and deeply disappointed by that decision.

"Despite it, we remain confident that the drive to regenerate the town centre - which is attracting some £400 million-worth of development, mostly from the private sector - is still on track to deliver new facilities, a 21st century environment and thousands of jobs to the people of Sandwell."

Glenda

I still visit my mom in West Bromwich and she says how good it was. Resign Councillor Cooper , problems with BT now with the Building society, what a sad state West Bromwich is in, Go now

I would like to know what was offered by Sandwell council and why the offer was rejected by WBBS?

Abbie Smith

Its great that the egg building will be filled up again, but such a shame that they will be coming to other empty buildings in the waterfront. Such a shame that Virgin Media & the Courts could not stop any longer so it can bring the waterfront back to its peak

glyn martin

as expected no reply from either side i would like to point out that the society is owned by the" members" and i understand no consultation has taken place it would be interesting to know what it would take to call an extraordinary general meeting regarding this appalling decision by the board without consultation

L Haycock

Another Sandwell Council cock up.

SANDnotsoWELL

Looks like Mr Cooper's bluff has been called....if he and his Cllrs knew what they were doing West Brom wouldn't be in the state it is today and so desperate to try and catch up. He and his party have lost the plot, too long in power and arrogant with it. They think they are untouchable and they have lost touch with the communities and now it appears the business sector. Sandwell MBC have some excellent officers, alas not always supported by the Cabinet. They also have some, and I say some excellent Cllrs alas they aren't part of the elite network at the top. Good luck to the West Brom, they made a decision based on economic fact and the offer that was made to them by DC and his merry men, which I understand had been changed a few times. No doubt more will come out soon. Not everyone can be coerced....or bullied into accepting what Sandwell MBC wants. No doubt DC will rant on about this as much as he rants on about Mr Gove etc and no doubt will carry on destroying our West Bromwich, our towns, our communities, our heritage, culture and history. You've messed up mate, admit it.

Sandwell Council

For those who haven't read it yet - we did actually offer the land to the West Brom for free to try to keep them in the town.

http://www.expressandstar.com/news/2012/09/29/650k-land-was-offered-to-west-bromwich-building-society-for-free/