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Co-op bank to shut old Britannia branch

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: December 05, 2013

By Leslie Jackson

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A LEEK branch of the Co-operative Bank is to close.

The group announced on November 14 in its bank re-capitalisation plan that it was to rationalise its branch network by at least 15 per cent by the end of 2014.

Since that announcement, the bank said it had been working through the details of what this meant for colleagues and customers.

As a result of this the Leek Newton House branch, at the former Britannia Building Society headquarters in Cheadle Road, is to merge with the town's Derby Street branch.

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This will result in the closure of the Newton House branch in early 2014.

Heather Lauder, customer and distribution director for the Co-operative Bank said: "These decisions have not been taken lightly, and in making these changes we have sought to keep the impact upon customers to a minimum.

"Our customers are our main priority and we will be doing everything we can to ensure that they continue to receive the high levels of service that they expect from us.

"Our branch network remains an integral part of our overall customer service offer moving forwards, and as we re-focus our business we will be investing in self-service and digital channels to provide our customers with new ways to service their accounts."

A spokesman for the bank told the Post & Times that as colleagues were in a period of consultation it was inappropriate to provide a regional breakdown on eventual potential job cuts at this stage.

Staffordshire Moorlands MP Karen Bradley said: "The latest news from the Co-operative, that they plan to merge the branch located at Newton House in Leek with the Derby Street branch, is disappointing, though not entirely unexpected.

"I have pressed the management for further detail about how employees will be affected by this restructuring, but at this early stage, little information is available.

"More positively, I have been given strong assurances that Derby Street has adequate resources to support local customers in the Staffordshire Moorlands.

"As soon as we have a clearer idea of the detailed picture, I will look to take further action."

The move comes four years after the Co-op Bank took over Britannia Building Society.

Leader of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, Sybil Ralphs, said: "Leek's association with the former Britannia Building Society goes back many decades, and the Co-operative Bank would do well to remember that Britannia's success was directly due to the loyalty and support of the people of Leek and the Moorlands.

"That same loyalty and commitment was shown by the staff of Britannia, both past and present.

"What must those people be feeling now?"

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