Garden Design Market Harborough

By Stephen Womack

Updated: 23:02 BST, 14 May 2011




They are clearly not superstitious at Market Harborough Building Society. The mutual chose Friday, May 13 to open its latest branch.

Market Harborough is the country’s 24th-biggest society, with customers across south Leicestershire and Northamptonshire. The new branch, in Lutterworth, Leicestershire, is its eighth.

It stepped in after the giant of the sector, Nationwide, closed its agency in the town. This agency, effectively a minibranch run by a third party, was one of 150 axed by Nationwide last year.

Snip: Mayor Ray Perkins officially opens the branch in Lutterworth

Snip: Mayor Ray Perkins officially opens the branch in Lutterworth

Market Harborough has put its name above the door of the same building and reopened it for business also as an agency.

Lutterworth, where Sir Frank Whittle did his pioneering work on the jet engine, is a thriving town. It is already home to branches of Lloyds TSB, NatWest, Barclays and Hinckley & Rugby Building Society.



But Market Harborough is convinced that residents will appreciate the choice of another financial services provider on the High Street.

Mark Robinson, chief executive, says: ‘This is a natural extension for us. We already have a significant number of customers in the area and we can both serve them better and grow the business by taking over this branch.

‘We have no assumptions that all the deposits that were with Nationwide will automatically come across to us but we can give savers an alternative.’

The agency is managed by Subhash Bhundia, who also runs adviser Airborne Financial Services.

‘We’ve already seen former customers coming in and transferring accounts from Nationwide to us,’ he says.

Julie Simpkin, 45, is one of the first to open a Market Harborough savings account in the branch – for her son Sam, 9.

Julie, who has a garden design business, lives in the village of Gilmorton three miles from Lutterworth, and was previously a saver with Nationwide.

‘I had my first mortgage with Market Harborough, so I know the society well,’ she says. ‘The staff here are really good and it is nice to be back again.’

Lutterworth Mayor Ray Perkins cut the ribbon to officially open the branch. He says: ‘Having good brands opening on the High Street lifts the whole town and gives people a reason to come and shop here.’

Market Harborough is one of several regional societies to have taken over branches axed by Nationwide.

Harpenden opened in Wendover, Buckinghamshire, last year while Hanley took over a former branch of Cheshire, also part of Nationwide, in Biddulph, Staffordshire.

In January, Saffron moved into the former Nationwide branch in Buntingford, Hertfordshire. Yorkshire has opened eight branches in former Nationwide agencies this year.

Lloyds Banking Group closed more than 250 Halifax agencies last year, but 88 of them have been taken on by Santander.

Source :

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