It has recently been announced that the Nationwide Branches in Hurstpierpoint & Hassocks will close permanently on Thursday 29th April 2021. Below is a communication from Nationwide:
Branches are at the heart of Nationwide Building Society, which is why we recently pledged not to leave any town or city where we are based without a branch until at least January 2023. However, there are still circumstances where we may need to close a branch. Typically, it will be because not enough members are coming in and we believe we can make better use of members’ money by investing in the surrounding branches.
This is the case with the Hassocks and Hurstpierpoint branches in your area. Over the last five years transactions have fallen by 36% at our Hassocks branch and by 34% at our Hurstpierpoint branch, we have also invested in out Burgess Hill and Hayward Heath branches. Following the ram-raid in September 2020, there were also substantial costs to bring the Hurstpierpoint branch up to standard and we believe this money could be better spent by improving other local branches.
I fully understand that closing a branch at this time will be challenging for members, especially those who are vulnerable and elderly. I would like to reassure you that we are taking a number of steps to support them at this time. This includes:
Writing to our members who interacted in the closing branch three times in 12 months. This is above the minimum requirement of three times in six months. As we only offer personal banking, we do not have the challenge of communicating to businesses that recent regulatory guidance has highlighted.Writing to vulnerable members four weeks prior to closure as an additional reminder of the support offered.Proactively calling vulnerable members who have a high branch dependency to discuss upcoming closure and individual support for them.Conducting digital and fraud awareness seminars online during the announcement period to support and educate members.Offering support to members following closure announcements. This could be face to face, telephone or email to discuss how they would like to interact with us in the future.Offering clear and concise Impact Assessments, detailing other ways members can access our servicesPutting the details of the closure on our website and displaying posters and leaflets in branch.Providing a dedicated member helpline and email address to assist with any queries they might have. Members can call us on 0345 266 0325.Adhering to the industry’s access to banking standards by providing timely notice to our members as well as clarity about the alternative places and ways to bank with us. We know 88% of Hassocks members and 91% of Hurstpierpoint members are already using other local branches, including our Burgess Hill and Hayward Heath branches, which we hope will limit the impact on them. In response to Covid-19 we have done all we can to keep our branches open for those members who really need to come in see us. We have made sure they remain safe for members and colleagues by implementing a number of measures in line with coronavirus guidance.
The impact of coronavirus has meant that we have become more aware of how members are using our branches and it has further emphasised that the role of our branches is evolving with our members’ needs and usage. Nationwide’s aim is to offer the best of human and digital interaction, so that our members can switch between branch, digital or phone and know that we will be able to respond to their needs seamlessly.
As a mutual we have to take a prudent approach and make sure we are acting in the interest of our entire membership. This means, on occasion, making tough decisions which we believe are in best interest for all. Although we do recognise that the closure will have an immediate impact for your constituents in Hassocks and Hurstpierpoint, I do hope you can see that over the long-term we will be able to better serve the whole community.