It’s been revealed that Ruddington’s last remaining building society branch is earmarked for closure – and it could be gone before the end of the year.
The Nottingham has delivered this bad news as part of its announcement of a ‘Strategic estate agency alliance with Belvoir Group PLC‘ in which their respective estate agency and lettings services will be merged. These include the brands Belvoir, Northwood, Newton Fallowell and Lovelle which are are set to be made available at both companies’ offices by the end of July.
Chief Executive Officer of The Nottingham, David Marlow, explains: “After great consideration, we believe the model is in our members’ best interest and for the long term success and sustainability of the Society is to deliver an estate agency and lettings proposition through an expert partner. Whilst the transfer of our operations to the Belvoir Group marks the end of an era of us being our own estate agency, we’re confident it’s a positive move for the Society and our members.”
However, the main implication for Ruddington customers is the society’s proposal to ‘merge’ eight branches that have ‘a partner branch close by’ – which would spell the end for the village offices at 3-5 High Street because there is an alternative branch within five miles. Mr Marlow continues: “We have taken the opportunity to review our wider branch network, with an eye on long-term sustainability and in response to changing consumer behaviour and members accessing services in different ways, and have also shared proposals to merge a small number of branches, primarily in locations where there is a very close concentration of locations”.
You can read the company’s full statement >>HERE<<.
Ruddington investor Barbara Breakwell, who alerted us to this disappointing news, says: “As a community that has lost all its banks, and with a demographic of older people, as a long term customer I am quite worried about this proposal. There are a lot of people in our village who do not do ANYTHING online. Managing our finances is important to us all but, for a lot of the older demographic, the social aspect of talking to another human being “face to face” (socially distanced) is equally important for confidence and reassurance – also for their wellbeing it may be the only person they engage with in a day. Will we have to go to West Bridgford?”
The short answer is ‘yes’! A spokesperson for The Nottingham tells us: “We have looked closely at the nearest locations and we believe that these continue to be accessible for the majority of our customers. The nearest alternative branch for members who usually use Ruddington is West Bridgford (2.9 miles). As well as visiting a branch, customers might find it convenient to contact us in other ways – over the telephone or by email – giving them more flexibility over how they manage their money.”
Resident Kate Robertson is not happy: “Our three had their first savings accounts there” she says. “Yet again everything becomes West Bridgford centric!” Ruth Guyler adds: “So sad. The Ruddington staff are wonderful and will be greatly missed … Nottingham Building Society please reconsider.”
Responding to concerns about some Ruddington residents being forced to use public transport to travel to an alternative branch – which is still not recommended by the Government due to COVID-19 safety concerns – The Nottingham says: “Branches which are subject to merger are proposed to close by the end of November – by which time there should hopefully be no issues with people being able to use public transport.”
The Building Society admits job losses are likely: “We’re currently in discussions with team members about what the proposed changes mean for them. Where possible we will make redeployment opportunities available but sadly some team members will be at risk of redundancy. Our commitment is to communicate openly and transparently with our team impacted by these changes and to support them through the process.”
Ruddington team members have declined to comment at this stage, but it will inevitably be a bitter blow to the local staff who’ve become so much part of our village community since the new branch opened here seven years ago. That was when The Nottingham merged with Shepshed Building Society and its offices moved up High Street to the current location – at the old Midland Bank premises. Staff have been involved with many fundraising initiatives – from Red Nose Day to Wilbur’s Tenth Birthday Party – and even produced a unique ‘cat calendar’ for their most frequent visitor.
Already some villagers are talking about launching a petition to save this much loved local branch. Keep checking RUDDINGTON.info and we’ll bring you more…