Dunfermline Building Society branches to close across Scotland

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  By Martin Kelly
 
The Nationwide Building Society has announced it plans to close 25 Dunfermline Building Society branches across Scotland with the loss of around 90 jobs – around a third of the current workforce.
 
Tony Prestedge, Nationwide’s chief operating officer described the move as a “logical step” in order to strengthen the Nationwide brand.

Mr Prestedge said: “It is a logical step to integrate our businesses under one unified, strong, and nationally recognisable brand.

“The strength of the Nationwide brand is increasingly compelling and we will offer customers of the Dunfermline a vastly improved proposition.

“As well as benefiting from access to our full suite of products and market leading customer service, more people will have access to our strong branch network than at present.”

The announcement will see surviving Dunfermline branches ‘integrate’ with Nationwide offices.

In 2009 the Dunfermline Building Society was subject to a controversial forced takeover instigated by the last UK Labour Government.

There was outrage in Scotland when the company was forced out of business by the UK Treasury and had its branches taken over by the Nationwide Building Society.  The Bank of England had used new powers under the Banking Act to rush through the deal.

Former Secretary of State for Scotland at the time, Labour MP Jim Murphy, defended the move and claimed that “reckless loans” and “involvement of Sub Prime mortgage market in the US” had contributed to the Building Society’s downfall.

However it transpired that Mr Murphy’s Sub Prime claims were untrue after an independent report carried out by auditors KPMG confirmed no such liabilities were on the Dunfermline’s books.

The forced sell off led to its former chairman Jim Faulds launching a scathing attack on Westminster Government bodies, accusing them of being “secretive” and “unhelpful”.

Mr Faulds had claimed that a proposed Scottish Government £25m deal to save the society would have worked and added “Perhaps they [Westminster] have, frankly, taken the huff because we went to the Scottish Government in utter frustration at London’s inability and unwillingness to help us.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZR3SICn4Z58

Speaking at the time of the forced takeover, Jim Murphy said the UK Government were planning a long term solution that would entail significant investment and pledged that the Labour Government “would invest a substantial amount of money” in order to safeguard the branches and jobs.

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