Uncertainty over bank branch

UNCERTAINTY today surrounds the long-term future of an Ipswich branch of Bradford & Bingley after the bank's savings business and 197 branches were bought by Abbey.

UNCERTAINTY today surrounds the long-term future of an Ipswich branch of Bradford & Bingley after the bank's savings business and 197 branches were bought by Abbey.

Bradford & Bingley has a branch in Upper Brook Street, just a few yards from the town centre Abbey branch in Carr Street.

A spokeswoman for Abbey today said Bradford & Bingley branches will remain as they are for now although it is too early to say if any will be axed in the future.

“The plan is to maintain as many branches as possible but it is too early to say if any will close,” she said.

The takeover by Abbey comes after Bradford & Bingley was nationalised by the government in a move to stabilise the wider financial sector.

The government will take control of the bank's £50bn mortgages and loans, while the bank's £20bn savings unit and branches will be bought by Spain's Santander, Abbey's parent company.

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António Horta-Osório, chief executive of Abbey, said: "This is good news for Bradford & Bingley's savings customers.

“They can be certain that their hard-earned savings are with a bank they can trust as Abbey is part of the Santander Group, one of the world's most successful banks.

“It has an AA credit rating and a strong retail focus with more branches worldwide than any other international bank.

“As such, Santander has been well-positioned to succeed in the current market turbulence.”

Abbey say Bradford & Bingley's customers will continue to use their existing channels - branches, telephone and internet - for transactions, as usual while the Bradford & Bingley brand will also remain.

Are you a Bradford & Bingley employee concerned about your job? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk