Progressive invests £1m in Ballymena High Street
Ballymena town centre has received a significant economic boost with Progressive Building Society re-opening its doors after a £1m investment.
The redevelopment of the branch, one of 12 that Progressive has in cities and towns across Northern Ireland, is a good news story for Ballymena which, along with 9 other UK towns, is the subject of a six-year study ‘High Street UK 2020’ by Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) to breathe new life into its North Antrim high streets.
The First Minister Peter Robinson MLA officially opened Progressive’s new building, where he outlined his commitment to supporting investment in Ballymena’s high streets, which is starting to overcome research that had placed it as having one of the largest vacancy rates within Northern Ireland.
Commenting at the event, he said, “I am delighted to officially open the Progressive Building Society Ballymena branch. I congratulate the board of Progressive for investing £1 million in this redevelopment. Such a major redevelopment is very welcome news for the town of Ballymena and will be seen as a vote of confidence in the town and its people.
The new facilities will offer members more modern and comfortable facilities in which to conduct business and importantly sends a signal to the wider Northern Ireland public that the Progressive is committed to investing in the local economy and developing the local High Street.
Resident in Ballymena since 1978, Progressive has its roots in local communities across Northern Ireland. Commenting at the opening Darina Armstrong, Chief Executive said, “We know that customers seek out great value, but don’t want to compromise on quality, so we’re always looking to meet these evolving demands by enhancing our branches and our products.
“At Progressive we also understand the importance of investing in the community and we are committed to playing our part in the re-generation of Ballymena and bring an extra boost to the local economy. High Streets across the UK have had challenging times but Ballymena is a good example of a location where investment is starting to go back into the heartbeat of our towns and this is an area that we will continue to support.
“The procedure of applying for a mortgage can appear complex, especially with the changes within the Mortgage Market Review. We believe our 12 strong branch network provides the opportunity for customers and members alike to come into one of our branches and directly engage with qualified and expert staff. Whether it’s for a mortgage or savings product, our staff will take customers through every step of the process, ensuring they fully understand what’s involved.”
Progressive which is celebrating its centenary this year recently announced pre-tax profits of £5.7m. The mutual based society whose main business is savings and mortgage lending, also saw total gross mortgage assets increase in 2013,to £1,320 million. Voted the UK’s second most ethical financial institution following a report from Ethical Consumer into UK and Global banking standards in 2013, the Progressive is also set to merge with City Of Derry Building Society in July.