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Nationwide to close Cheshire Estate Agency

Nationwide Building Society is to close the doors on Cheshire Estate Agency as part of restructuring plans, which have placed 19 branches and 565 jobs under threat.

Up to 250 jobs could be axed at the Cheshire within the next 24 months, which Nationwide acquired along with the Derbyshire and Dunfermline last year. Of these, 27 fall within the agency business, which is due to close on July 9 after 21 years of trading.

The sales and lettings firm is declining all new business with immediate effect, and claims to be in the throes of writing to existing vendor clients to assure them that it will continue to market their properties, or help them complete on their sale if the transaction is already underway, until they close, unless they opt to switch firms.

Landlord clients are being advised to consider managing their own properties or refer business to local firm, Stockport Residential Limited.

Tenants are being advised to contact their landlord to ascertain where to send future payments.

The group restructure is a result of a strategic review of Nationwide's regional brands operations in Cheshire, Derbyshire, and Dunfermline.

Five Cheshire branches and 12 Dunfermline branches are expected to close by October, with the group's regional offices in Macclesfield and Duffield, Derbyshire expected to close in the next two years.

Cheshire-branded mortgages are also being discontinued due to low volumes. A spokeswoman for Cheshire says the society will now focus on savings and investments.

Matthew Wyles, group distribution director for Nationwide, says: "Since rescuing the Cheshire Building Society during the global financial crisis of 2008/9, we have remained committed to keeping their presence on the High Street, but it has become clear that we need to make a number of changes in order to sustain their future viability.

"We have had to make some difficult decisions, but the strategy we have outlined today is designed to strengthen our regional brands proposition, giving the Cheshire the focus and clarity needed for it to succeed."

He adds: "The decisions we are taking are absolutely vital, and would have been inevitable for any business wishing to stabilise and maintain the Cheshire for the benefit of members, both now and in the future."

The closure of Cheshire Estate Agency follows the sale of Halifax Estate Agencies Limited to LSL Property Services last year.

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