Wanstead’s Nationwide Building Society to shut

The Nationwide Building Society in Wanstead is to close leaving a high street with only the NatWest left standing.

A poster placed the window on Thursday announced the closure, which is to take place in August. Customers are directed towards branches in South Woodford, Walthamstow and Ilford.

The past few years have seen Santander, HSBC and Barclays close. The HSBC in South Woodford has just closed, with its customers directed towards the Post Office in Wanstead.

This week the Nationwide announced that its profits had doubled to £823m.

On a message on its website, it says that it has chosen to close Wanstead branch because there are five other branches within a 2.8-mile radius. It says only 13% of members use only the Wanstead branch, and that 72% of Wanstead branch members are registered for online banking.

Bizarrely the building society had promised that there would be no branch closures until January 2023. It’s not immediately clear how the two positions can be reconciled.

Wanstead Councillor Jo Blackman issued a statement saying:

Bank and building society branches provide a crucial lifeline for older residents in our community who may not be comfortable with online banking. Wanstead high street has lost many of its branches over the years and it’s really disappointing to see Nationwide shut theirs. I’ve written to Nationwide to ask them to urgently reconsider their decision.

Friday night spectacular

The complete gridlock which hit Wanstead on Friday afternoon and evening was something to behold. Nothing could move anywhere – caused, it is believed, by an earlier lorry crash which seized up Charlie Brown and Redbridge roundabouts. Thankfully it appears no one was injured.