Up to 150 Nationwide Building Society agencies 'under threat'

The future of around 150 Nationwide Building Society agencies is under threat, it was reported today.

The mutual is understood to be considering axing its network of agencies based with firms such as solicitors and estate agents in a move that could impact hundreds of workers.

Nationwide’s agency network trades under the Nationwide banner, as well as the Cheshire, Derbyshire and Dunfermline brands, although staff that man the counters are not directly employed by Nationwide.

The counters operate within firms such as estate agencies, solicitor offices and financial advisory companies, providing basic banking services to local communities that often do not have a dedicated bank branch.

A statement on agency closures could come as soon as Tuesday, according to the Mail on Sunday report.

The decision would come just two months after Lloyds Banking Group said it was closing its 265-strong network of Halifax-branded agencies as part of ongoing cost cutting.

Lloyds said the agency business had already been in decline, almost halving since 2005. It will begin closing the counters from October 4.

Nationwide remained tight-lipped on plans for its agencies, but said on releasing full-year results in May that it was reviewing its distribution network.

Its 850 branches are not expected to be affected by the agency decision, although Nationwide chief executive Graham Beale has warned some branches will shut as he trims the business following a raft of recent takeovers.

Nationwide said today: “Like any well run organisation we continually review all our operations to ensure they are delivering best value for our membership, in as efficient a way as possible.

“If we decide to make any changes to our distribution arrangements, we will, of course, let employees and key stakeholders know first.”

The banking sector has delivered a series of devastating job cuts and office closure announcements in recent days.

Royal Bank of Scotland last week revealed it is to axe 3,500 back office staff and shut at least 12 administration centres across the UK.

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