The Santander agency branch at Bradley Stoke’s Willow Brook Centre has re-opened under new management less than six weeks after it closed due to “difficulties” between the unit’s previous operator and the centre’s management.
Business at the branch came to a sudden end on Thursday 11th August 2011 after staff had been informed of the impending closure just a few days earlier. The agency had been run by IPM Agencies (Santander) Ltd, a company registered at the same address as 1st Equity, who were behind the failed Nationwide agency that traded from the unit between October 2008 to February 2010.
A spokesperson for Santander told The Journal:
“It was with regret that we had to announce the short notice closure of the Agency on 12th August 2011 after the Agent became unable to trade from the premises. Since then we have worked to restore a banking and savings service for customers, and have appointed Hart Agency Services as an Agent of Santander.”
Mark Hixon, Director of Agency Distribution for Santander, added:
“I am delighted to appoint Hart Agency Services as our Agent in Bradley Stoke. The Willow Brook Centre is a vibrant development with an important role at the heart of Bradley Stoke, and it was crucial for me that we reopened the Agency as quickly as possible.”
“Santander and the team from Hart Agency Services look forward to welcoming customers both existing and new.”
Enquiries by The Journal have revealed that Hart Agency Services, run by Claire Richards and Stephen Hanks, operates two other Santander agency branches – in Swanage and Ferndown (both in Dorset). The couple also run The Mortgage Market UK Limited, which will also offer services from the new branch.
The three employees that worked at the Bradley Stoke Santander agency operated by the previous owners have been retained by the new management.
Willow Brook Centre Manager Scott Lahive commented:
“The previous agent closed the branch of Santander after failing to comply with their lease obligations. Due to the success of the business, both the Willow Brook Centre and Santander have worked relentlessly to re-establish a presence at the centre.”
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