Stoke & Staffordshire

Surge in Staffordshire building society customers

Queues at Northern Rock bank in York at the start of the credit crunch in 2007
Image caption Customers have lost trust with banks over the credit crunch, Mr Griffiths said

Two Staffordshire building societies have taken on extra staff to cope with the volume of new customers.

Leek United Building Society said it had taken on 10 staff in 2010 and Hanley Economic Building Society (HBS) said it was recruiting five staff.

David Lownds from HBS said many of the new customers said they had lost trust in high street banks after the credit crunch and banking crisis.

HBS said it planned to open a new branch in Biddulph in October.

Mr Lownds said people were turning to local businesses they could trust. He said HBS had taken on 2,500 new members since September and opened 4,000 new savings accounts, which was much higher than normal.

'About turn'

"It shows that local building societies are doing well in a very difficult climate," he said.

"We've had some good feedback to say the big banks have lost the trust of some of their customers."

The branch in Biddulph will be the sixth in the HBS group, which was established in 1856.

Keith Griffiths, finance director of Leek United Building Society, said customers had deposited £50m in new savings since January.

He said: "It's been a complete about turn, the same time last year we were losing funds.

"People were taking their money out because of the low interest rates. We've still got low interest rates but I think there is some disillusionment with banks because of the credit crunch."

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