Nationwide attacked for branch closures

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The Independent Online

Nationwide has come under fire for its decision to close all seven of its branches in south-east London. Britain's biggest building society will close branches in Blackheath, Greenwich, Woolwich, Lewisham, Catford, Peckham and Elephant & Castle by the end of May.

The Labour MP for Greenwich and Woolwich, Nick Raynsford, condemned Nationwide's decision, saying the building society was "indifferent to the concerns of its customers across such a large part of our capital city, an area with a population of almost 670,000". He added: "The idea of there being no Nationwide branch in the whole of Manchester seems absurd, yet Nationwide is denying its branch services to an area with a population much greater than Manchester and Sheffield."

A Nationwide spokesman said the decision was a difficult one but the branches were "economically unsustainable". The spokesman added that there were still 700 branches and telephone and internet banking service are available. Nevertheless, Nationwide's shock move was debated in Westminster Hall last week, with the backing of south-east London MPs Heidi Alexander and Joan Ruddock.

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