Management at Bradley Stoke’s Willow Brook Centre say they were “shocked” when The Nationwide Building Society branch ceased trading without notice yesterday (Monday 15th).
The agency branch, operated by 1st Equity (part of financial services company 1st Group UK of Thornbury), first opened on Monday 20th October 2008 – one week after the official opening of the Willow Brook Centre.
The business had appeared to be doing well, particularly after the recent closure of the rival Halifax agency at Bradley Pavilions – the town’s only other banking outlet.
The proprietors had also recently been advertising a job vacancy at the agency, for which the application deadline had been given as 11th February.
Nationwide branding on the agency shop front and elsewhere within the Willow Brook complex had been removed by late afternoon on Monday and the shop window covered with paper sheets.
Notices on the windows of the store state:
“Regrettably it has been necessary to temporarily close this branch agency. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.”
Willow Brook Centre Manager Scott Lahive told The Journal:
“This is obviously sad news for the many customers who held accounts at the Bradley Stoke branch. Our thoughts are with the staff who along with the centre were unaware of the planned closure.”
The Bradley Stoke branch was operated by a separate company who act as an agency for Nationwide. Customers can be safe in the knowledge that any transactions completed prior to the closure are registered with Nationwide and are unaffected. In effect their accounts remain whilst the ability to bank in Bradley Stoke does not.”
“At this moment in time we are not aware if this closure if a temporary or permanent move.”
Customers are advised to contact Nationwide on 08457 302010 if they have any queries.
The news comes just three months after the Curves ladies-only fitness centre, another tenant of the Willow Brook Centre, suddenly ceased trading on Friday 6th November.
1st Equity were unable to provide a statement before publication of this article but a director of the company has promised to speak to The Journal later today.
UPDATE at 4pm:
John Bridge of 1st Equity supplied the following statement:
“The decision to close the agency was not ours and we regret the inconvenience to customers.”
“I am not allowed to comment further.”
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