Newcastle Building Society has announced it has repaid all the money received from Government under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

As part of the Government’s ‘furlough’ scheme, the Society used just under £600,000 to protect colleague jobs when the pandemic forced the economy into lockdown and its business activities were severely affected.

As activity picked up over the summer, the majority of furloughed colleagues returned to their roles at the Society in July, and all were brought back by September.  The Society has since seen a strong recovery in trading conditions and has not needed to make any related redundancies.

“The Government’s furlough scheme was a helpful and timely initiative which eased concerns about keeping colleagues in their jobs and protecting livelihoods through a period of widespread and extreme uncertainty,” explained Newcastle Building Society chief executive, Andrew Haigh.

“Now that we have seen a much more stable operating environment and a strong recovery in the housing market since those early days of the pandemic, we are pleased to be in a position where Newcastle Building Society can return the funds with thanks.”

He concluded: “With so many other sectors struggling to operate effectively through the many challenges presented by the pandemic, we very much felt that this was the appropriate action for us to take.”

Throughout the pandemic the Society has provided substantial financial assistance to its communities.  As part of a 2020 commitment to communities totalling £1.5m, it has maintained a significant regional community support programme of grants to charities and individuals who have been seriously impacted by Covid-19.

It also invested heavily in transforming ways of working to enable the majority of its office-based colleagues to work from home, and kept open all but one of its 31 branches across the North East, Cumbria and North Yorkshire, providing Covid-safe environments and ongoing access for essential financial transactions while implementing video appointments for financial advice customers.