Nationwide: Fewer branches, and not much of a website either

A not-very-triumphant morning for Nationwide Building Society, which is closing 7 branches in south east London, after its already-wobbly website fell over, leaving customers trying to find where to do their internet banking… good thing I paid that bill last night, really.

After this blog broke the Nationwide branch closures story 10 days ago, it’s gained some traction in the real world, with Saturday’s Daily Telegraph following it up by asking why Nationwide was turning its back on the little people. (Thanks to Geoff for the spot.)

Thanks also to the Greenwich Phantom, Brockley Central and for running with it.

Labour activists in Lewisham are planning a protest on 19 February, while the borough’s Lib Dems are also unhappy. Nothing from local politicians in Greenwich.

In fact, the Nationwide story was an instructive lesson in how local and London journalism works. Docklands24 picked it up half an hour or so after I did it. The News Shopper did it on Wednesday, with the South London Press limping in a whole week later, showing the real standards that local newspaper proprietors aim for, claiming that only five branches were to close. Presumably Greenwich and Woolwich are no longer in south London, despite being served by the SLP’s freebie Mercury offshoot. Ho-hum.

As for London wide media, BBC London hasn’t noticed a whole swathe of the capital being abandoned by one of the biggest financial institutions (baffled BBC website users getting a story about Swindon instead) and there’s not been a dicky bird from the Standard. Funny, that.

So, the question is – where to go when I pull my dwindling sum of cash out of the Nationwide (leaving them with only my unprofitable mortgage)? As far as I can gather, the Chelsea Building Society in Lewisham will be the nearest mutual, with the Co-Operative Bank just down the road. As far as I can tell, that’s it without straying into the clutches of the Big Four. So much for mutuality, eh?


  1. Re: Beeb not noticing – I emailed Money Box about this story when I received the closure alert from Nationwide about the Peckham Branch closing. Paul Lewis re-directed me to your blog.

    By the way just got a letter from Nationwide’s complaints department basically saying they couldn’t possibly consult with local customers about these proposals (no convincing explanation as to why not), and the letter ignored my question about whether leaving one branch was even considered before such a drastic step was taken.

  2. Yeah, nice one Darryl, IIRC it was in the Sunday Times as well.

    No link for you because of Murdoch paywalls.

    Interesting that a mutual has suddenly decided to bite the hands that feed it. They used to do a card which didn’t charge when you usaed it abroad, but that has been pulled.

    I use the Co-op in Lewisham and have had no problems with them thus far.

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