400 sign Ottery Nationwide closure protest

PUBLISHED: 18:00 05 November 2010

HUNDREDS of upset Ottery residents have joined a campaign to halt the closure of the town’s Nationwide agency network branch.

HUNDREDS of upset Ottery residents have joined a campaign to halt the closure of the town’s Nationwide agency network branch.

Around 400 people have signed an 18-page petition addressed to the building society’s bosses since learning the Jesu Street service- labelled a “financial lifeline”- will shut on December 31.

Nationwide bosses have rejected a plea from long-standing customers for a mobile banking facility, saying they are “sincerely sorry”, and the move will save vital cash.

Elderly customers from Ottery, Tipton and West Hill say they face a trek to Exeter or Exmouth and have begged Nationwide directors to reverse their decision.

Nationwide said its agency network branches, run by a third party, aren’t financially viable- and has encouraged customers to utilise internet and telephone banking services.

Rachel Beaumont, of Hind Street, is one of many to complain to building society bosses.

She told the Herald: “It’s part of the community going. Ottery is slowly sinking to its knees.”

Faith Stammers, 71, of Mill Street, said: “It’s a financial lifeline. When it comes to rural areas you need sub-locations. ”

Matthew Wyles, Nationwide’s group distribution director, said: “Every penny we spend on unprofitable activity stops us returning value to our members in the form of better rates and products. Regrettably, it is no longer sustainable for us to operate an agency network which 95per cent of our customers never use.

“We appreciate the effect this will have on some of our customers, however, we have a wide range of ways in which they can access our products and services.”


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