Co-operative Financial Services (CFS) is amalgamating the mortgage operations of its Co-operative Bank and Co-operative Insurance Society divisions.
The society is in the process of developing a single range of products, and Mervyn Pedelty, chief executive of CFS, said: ‘In recent years both the bank and CIS have increased their respective sales of mortgage business and we have identified this product line as a key priority for CFS. It makes complete sense that these operations are brought together, so our customers can enjoy greater choice and flexibility.’
The new operation will continue to offer products both through the intermediary channel and direct to customers, and will be headed up by Peter Sutcliffe, executive director, retail banking business management for the Co-operative Bank.
To help run the operation, CFS has also recruited Stuart Packer as project manager from Britannia Building Society.
Although CFS would not divulge the size of the combined operation, it said it would have more than six million customers and be ‘offering huge cross-sales opportunities.’
Russ Brady, spokesman for CFS, said the move would not lead to redundancies: ‘It is not a cost-cutting exercise and at the moment it is envisaged the total number of CFS staff will remain at 14,000.’
There are no plans to amalgamate the two independent business sites. Brady added: ‘Both head offices are within a few hundred yards of each other in the centre of Manchester. These two venues will be increasingly treated as one location as CFS develops.The two mortgage operations operate from two sites, one in Manchester and one in Stockport, and it is envisaged the operation will continue to be located on two sites as the business develops in the future.’
The mortgage business push follows difficult times in the insurance sector in recent years, caused by reducing profits.
Brady concluded: ‘Mortgages are a priority for CFS as they help us build long-term customer relationships, create the opportunity to target younger, more affluent customers and generate insurance sales.’