Darlington Building Society has moved to reopen its branches on Saturdays.
This continues the society’s ‘open for business’ strategy, employed throughout the crisis; it initially made a commitment to open branches between 9am and 1pm Monday to Friday.
To ensure the safety of staff and members, social distancing measures were put in place, along with protective screens, personal protective equipment (PPE), hand sanitiser, and increased cleaning.
The weekday opening hours were increased from 9am to 2.30pm from 15 June, and branches will now open on Saturdays between 9am and 2pm.
95% of head office staff, and 100% of the mortgage team, have been working from home, with the society making an early decision not to participate in the government’s furlough scheme.
Instead, staff were given an assurance that they would remain on full pay, with no redundancies, for at least the remainder of 2020.
Apart from a two-day closure of Northallerton branch, when a staff member tested positive for the virus, all branches have opened every day apart from Saturdays.
Andrew Craddock, chief executive of Darlington Building Society, said: “That record is a remarkable achievement by the staff.
“We had to react quickly, with IT staff moving heaven and earth, and others having to juggle childcare and the support of elderly relatives, but the way people have pulled together is tremendous.
“Now, we are in a position to go further for our customers by extending the opening of our branches to Saturdays, to give our members more options and make it as convenient as possible.
“We are a strong, resilient business, with reserves that have been built up over more than 160 years, and we felt it would be wrong to take the Government’s cash when we were able to stand on our own two feet.”