Protest over Ottery Nationwide closure

SCORES of upset Ottery residents have slammed a move to close the town’s Nationwide agency network branch- saying they’ll lose a “financial lifeline”.

More than 50 people signed a petition addressed to the building society’s bosses in the space of a few days after learning the “invaluable” Jesu Street service will shut on December 31.

Customers face a trek to Exeter or Exmouth and have begged Nationwide directors to reverse their decision.

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

Rachel Beaumont, of Hind Street, has penned a letter to the firm’s chief executive and urged townsfolk to follow suit.

“It’s part of the community going. Ottery is slowly sinking to its knees,” she said.

“It’s an inconvenience for everybody. What about our old age pensioners?

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“Some can hardly afford to heat their houses, let alone go out and buy a computer.

“Staff at the branch are very good, they understand senior citizens’ problems. The personal touch is paramount.”

Faith Stammers, 71, of Mill Street, visits the busy branch at least once a week.

She said using a car to get to go further afield would see petrol and parking costs hit her in the pocket.

“It’s a financial lifeline. When it comes to rural areas you need sub-locations,” she added.

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.”