BOSSES at Nationwide have given assurances on staffing and branches as the building society continues to serve thousands of Dorset members during the coronavirus pandemic.

No employees at the mutual society's administration centre on Bournemouth’s Richmond Hill or those who work in branches across the county will face redundancy in 2020.

While Nationwide closed some sites in Dorset earlier this year, deputy chief financial officer Alison Robb said bosses believe the current local branch configuration is "future-proof for a good period".

The building society employs almost 1,200 people locally and Ms Robb said ensuring staff had job security in the current climate was important.

She told the Daily Echo: "We have made a commitment across the whole society that we will not make anyone redundant before the end of 2020.

"Everybody who is on the payroll knows they are getting their salaries until the end of the year and in this environment that is incredibly important to us.

"We work very closely with our union because security of employment is top of most people's list at the moment and we are in a very fortunate position that we have been able to offer that to our employees unlike many industries.

"Clearly, we are a very important part of the economy, it is a essential service and we have had to keep open through what has been a really challenging two months and so it is then really important that we give that security to our people. That includes all the staff in the Bournemouth environment, as it does across the country."

In late May, Nationwide said that its profit was down 40 per cent after the business took a £101million hit due to the impact from a poor economic outlook and payment holidays it granted to customers, largely because of coronavirus.

The building society's underlying profit before tax plunged from £788million to £469million.

As reported, branches in Boscombe, Canford Cliffs, Highcliffe and West Moors closed at the end of January.

However, Ms Robb said at present no further closures in the local area are in their immediate thoughts.

"In the Bournemouth area, the configuration we have now got, we really think is future-proof for a good period," she said.

"We have had some branches closures but we have also had quite a level of investment, whether that is in the flagship in Bournemouth or some of the other branches.

"I think we have learned a lot from the last couple of months and the importance of our branch network is as high as it has ever been.

"We have got to a position whereby our branch staff can take calls that normally go to our contact centre and they are very knowledgeable staff, they can really help members with a lot of different things.

"As we speak, the pandemic has not caused us to change any of our thinking in terms of importance of the branch network.

"It doesn't mean we won't ever have to change things, but it has certainly not changed our strategy as we speak."