Councillor Llewellyn, Chairman to the Council has responded to the Chief Executive of Nationwide regarding the closure of both Hurstpierpoint and Hassocks branch. Please see attached letter for more detail.
17th March 2021 – see below for the response from Nationwide to Cllr Llewellyn’s letter
Sent on behalf of Heather Hazley, Regional Director.
Dear Cllr Llewellyn,
Thank you for your letter of 25 February 2021 to Joe Garner about the closure of our Hassocks and Hurstpierpoint branches. As Regional Director, I am responding on his behalf.
At Nationwide Building Society we know how important our branches are to the local community and I fully understand that there will be members left disappointed about the closures of their local branch. I would like to make clear that this was not a decision we took lightly.
We made the difficult decision to close our Hassocks and Hurstpierpoint branch as for a sustained number of years not enough members have been coming in, with transactions falling by a third in the last five years. As you will be aware, we joined the branches together a number of years ago to try to make them more sustainable but we have continued to see a decline in members using these branches with a high proportion using other local branches.
In line with the Access to Banking Standard, we notified members and key stakeholders about the closure 12 weeks prior to closure. The overarching principle of the standard is to ensure that customers and relevant stakeholders receive clear information about the closure in a timely manner.
Our branch promise makes clear that from time to time we still will need to close a branch. Unfortunately, this is one of these occasions, especially with the ram-raid on the Hurstpierpoint branch. As well as transactions in branch falling, we have recently invested in both our Burgess Hill and Haywards Heath branch and believe members will still be well served by these two branches in the local area as well as the branches in the wider region.
I recognise that closing a branch at this time will be challenging for members, especially those who are vulnerable and elderly. We have been helping a number of these members already but if you are aware of other members who will require assistance, we would appreciate it if you could ask them to call 0345 266 0325 so that branch colleagues can discuss the changes and suitable alternatives with them.
I fully understand that these closures will be disappointing for the community in the short-term, I do hope that you can see that as a mutual we have to think about the long-term and how we can spend fairly and in a way that benefits all our members’ different needs.
Thank you once again for taking the time to contact me and although this is not the answer that you were hoping for, I do hope it goes some way to explaining the background to our decision.