Shock closure of Nationwide Building Society branch

The Nationwide Building Society, Bradley Stoke (21st Oct 2008) The Nationwide Building Society, Bradley Stoke (15th Feb 2010)

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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  1. This closure is a pain. Having this branch enabled us to have somewhere convenient to walk into and get counter service i.e. pay in cheques etc.
    We also moved accounts from the Halifax, following the closure at The Pavillions, to the Nationwide. I’m sure a number of other people did the same.
    Lets hope this ‘problem’ is resolved and the branch returns. The centre needs a banking outlet of some kind. Perhaps the newly named ‘Tesco Bank’ may have something in the pipeline???!

  2. As a Nationwide customer, I find it disgraceful that there was no communication with the Customers.

    This may have been an agency and the Nationwide had the right to pull the plug.

    But at the end of the day I am still a Nationwide Customer/saver and should have been informed out of courtsey.

    When the Halifax closed they gave their customers three months warning.

  3. Nationwide should have rang me at 10.30 this morning to explain more about the closure whether it was going to temporary or permanent, I am still waiting. Their customer friendly image is severely tarnished in my eyes.

  4. Yes it is a pain that they closed there agency without given any notice to any of there customers there were clearly issues beween Nationwide and 1st Equity and it must have been something serious for Nationwide to do what they did.

    I feel sorry for the staff who worked in the Nationiwde agency they always made it welcome and did a really good job.

  5. As an account holder I received a letter from Nationwide on Saturday morning apologising for the permenent closure of the agency so doesn’t look like it will reopen. Oh well back to going to Yate or Kingswood to use a branch.

  6. I was amazed the letter was not even sent First Class or Second Class.
    If the Nationwide knew they were shutting the agency on the Monday a First class letter should have been put in the post on the Saturday to arrive on the Monday.

  7. I believe pressure should be put on Nationwide now to open a Branch in Bradley Stoke. I have written complaining about the handling of the closure and that it has left Bradley Stoke without a Bank or Building Society to the address below.

    Member Service
    Nationwide Building Society
    Kings Park Road
    Moulton Park
    NN3 6NW

  8. I sent a complaint to Nationwide, via the online messaging and marked as a ‘complaint’ category. Will be interesting to see if I get a reply.

  9. Well, we had a phone call back from Nationwide explaining the situation, as per the article above and that there is no intention to maintain a branch in Bradley Stoke……
    I believe as the other Steve has said, that we need to put pressure on Nationwide – I got a response by submitting the ‘complaint’ online.

    Lets hope they listen – it’s crazy that BS does not have any Bank or Building Society now, given the population.

  10. The population of Bradley Stoke now exceeds that of Thornbury, and probably Yate.

    Yet we have no Post Office, Bank or Building Society. Why?

    My job on Saturday is to drive to Yate to close down my kids Nationwide accounts, and then with them decide on HSBC at Aztech West or Stroud and Swindon BS on the A38. Not good choices, but the only ones available.

  11. Further to my comment on pressure should be applied on the Nationwide to re-open a branch.

    I also had a phone call, the person admitted the agency was doing well and to close the agency was a difficult decision but they had no option.

    I pointed out that I lived and worked locally and in the rush hour the other Branches are a pain to get to and increases my carbon footprint.

    She said that my comments woud be passed on to the local management team at present they no plans to re-open but things could change in the future.

    As a community we should fight this closure,we now have got a new town centre without a bank or building soceity.

  12. Steve, I totally agree.

    Over the past 20 years we have been able to use Halifax, and both of my kids had Halifax accounts until they closed. They then moved their accounts to the Nationwide and are now at a loss what to do next.

    Yate or the centre of Bristol are not easy options for non drivers after school.

    Finally it is hard to believe that the second biggest Parish/Borough in South Gloucester has no banking facilities.

  13. The staff certainly knew it was coming, as my son who is a printer technician did some work there and commented on how quiet it was and do they get bored, and was told it would probably close soon (this was early january)

  14. Does not surprise me as I fail to see how a ‘friendly society’ owned by its members can sponsor the England football team. Never mind though, are banking facilities available thro’ the Post Office at the Pavillions?

  15. Regarding the closure of the Nationwide Building Society in Bradley Stoke.
    We would like you to know that there is a Stroud and Swindon Agency on the A38 at Patchway.There has been an agency there for 30 years so why not call in and see them.

  16. I contacted the Bath Investment Building Society, after explaining that Bradley Stoke now has no Bank or Building Society, they now are investigating if it is viable to open an agency in Bradley Stoke, the more people that email them through their website I believe will put more weight behind the case for them to open an agency or Branch in Bradley Stoke

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