New bank to rise from the ashes at Willow Brook

Santander Bank

An agency branch of Santander Bank is to open soon at Bradley Stoke’s Willow Brook Centre.

The branch will occupy the same shop unit as the former Nationwide Building Society branch, which closed in mysterious circumstances earlier this year.

Hundreds of savers in Bradley Stoke were shocked to hear of the closure and say they never received a satisfactory explanation from Nationwide as to why the branch was closed.

The new Santander agency will be operated by 1st Equity (part of financial services company 1st Group UK of Thornbury), who also ran the Nationwide branch prior to its demise.

The move came to light when posters advertising “vacancies for customer service associates at a new Santander agency opening shortly” appeared in the window of the former Nationwide branch earlier this week, listing a 1st Group UK email address and telephone number.

More details of the Santander vacancies can be found on our New Town Centre Jobs page.

A source at 1st Equity told The Journal they were “unable to make any comment at this time”.

Santander claims to  be the third largest bank in the UK, having taken over Abbey National, Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley in recent years.

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  1. Nice to hear that Bradley Stoke’s going to have at least some form of bank again. Can’t help feeling a bit wary that it’s the same financial services outfit behind it though. How do we know they’re not going to fall out with Santander like they did with Nationwide? Why can’t a big bank like Santander just open its own branch in BS instead of going down the agency route?

  2. 1st Equity Ltd is a local company based in Thornbury where we have successfully run Halifax and Santander (previously Bradford and Bingley) agencies for some years. We also operate other agencies in the South West. 1st Equity has the interests of its local customers as a priority and we were sadden when Nationwide decided to close the agency in Bradley Stoke. It was our only Nationwide agency. We appreciate that this was a particular blow to the area since Halifax had decided to close its agency (not one of ours) in Bradley Stoke only a short time before. I am unable to comment on the action of Nationwide since it is the subject of legal action. It is however well known that Nationwide have closed agencies in other locations.

    We are now delighted that our negotiations with Santander have proved fruitful and our new Santander agency will be opening in Bradley Stoke in the coming months. Santander UK is a very substantial bank now including Abbey, Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley. We will be bringing the facilities of one of Europe’s most prominent banks to Bradley Stoke with a full and comprehensive range of banking facilities.

    We have been advertising for staff to run our new Santander agency and have received a substantial number of applications that we are now processing. Thanks to all who applied, we will be contacting you soon and no further applications are required.

    John Bridge
    Managing Director 1st Equity Ltd

  3. Finally! Living here 3 years and having no abbey/santander branch remotely near here has been a nightmare! Good to hear that they’re coming to Bradley Stoke! 😀

  4. Does anyone know what the 2 restaurants and 2 large shops are going to be? Signs have appeared on 4 units indicating that restaurants/shops opening soon.

  5. A recent survey by MoneySavingExpert rates Santander as the “worst bank for customer service”. 62% of the 3,388 Santander customers who voted in the poll, which attracted 17,675 respondents, said its service was “poor”.

  6. I am delighted that Santander are coming to B Stoke. They have great products and my experience of them has been super! Like all banks, they get it wrong sometimes and have a bit to learn, but at least they have recognised that we need a banking facility here. They are certainly a modern bank and less old fashioned than most of the usual suspects. Thank you Santander and 1st Equity for bringing back a much needed service!

  7. I see you state what three of the outlets are going to be, so what is going next to Pets At Home which states under offer or is it just making people THINK the units are going to be filled quickly

  8. I read in the evening post that the retailers are against a market at the Willow Brook Centre, can someone tell the people of the town why this is as we do need to breath some life into this dismal town centre where not a flower can be seen – can someone visit Yate where the flower baskets and the market stalls flourish

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