The Nottingham on High Street, Ruddington
Who: Lesley Harper, Branch Manager.
What: The Nottingham is a building society that’s owned by its members. They provide an “all-under-one-roof” service for savings, mortgages, estate agency and financial planning.
For some months now, we’ve been having a lot of fun with the “Meet the…” articles. It’s been a wonderful way to find out more about the colourful people behind our local independent shops.
So when a mutual building society, The Nottingham, approached us, I was a little unsure of what to quiz them on. What could we ask them?
Arranging an interview date with the branch manager on the phone, it occurred to me that I knew who I was speaking to. I’d heard that warm friendly voice before. I could put a face to that voice and now a name to the face. I was speaking to Lesley Harper. Not just any old branch manager. I could relax.
Every morning without fail, a smartly dressed Lesley sits across the road from her branch, drinking a cup of tea and eating two pieces of toast at her favourite café, Philos. She’s having a warm and friendly chat with the people around her and the “Good morning” vibes she brings with her are impossible not to notice.
Having met up with Lesley in her branch, it was clear she brings her personal touch to work too. Even the famous village cat Wilbur enjoys a visit to The Nottingham. And despite this being a far cry from the dreary banks I’ve experienced before, it’s clear they still know how to do business. The difference is they’re passionate about it and they know your name.
Q: The Nottingham is very visible on our High Street. What do you do exactly?
A: Everything you need from birth onwards! We have it all under one roof and it’s right in the heart of the village. We help people save, buy houses…we help with all life’s milestones. We’ve been doing so since 1849.
Q: Can I pay in my cash into an account or withdraw it?
A: Yes. You can pop into the branch and see either myself, Lisa or Hayley. You can even have a little passbook. If you have young children opening up an account it’s a great way for them to see their money build up. As they save, they receive hand-painted “Robin Hood and Friends” moneyboxes that are painted by the last father/son company in Stoke. Our Member Rewards initiative offers potential rewards for all qualifying members.
Q: You’ve had a branch in Ruddington for many years. Other banks seem to be shutting down branches but you’re opening more. How is that?
A: Our ethos is personal service; we want to meet our customers face to face. It works for everyone. The chief exec (who lives close to Ruddington) recently spoke about how it’s very important for our offering that we have branches visible on the high street. We like to visit relevant community groups too. Recently I did a talk for the elderly to educate them on plastic money. We also like to do talks educating people about how to manage money.
Q: Does money make you happy?
A: Well we can’t live without it. But working at The Nottingham, I do understand the importance of saving so I can treat my grandson.
Q: Apart from Philo’s, what else do you like about Ruddington?
A: I do love Philo’s. I like to watch the village wake up over my cuppa. But also I love working in the heart of the village. Ruddington people look out for each other, they even look out for the cat. Whenever we do charity work, the response we get is uniquely and overwhelmingly supportive. I also love The Frame Breakers pub. One reason is because they’re dog friendly and one of the charities we’ve supported in the past is Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Q: What other local charities do you support?
A: We support quite a few, like the local football team. The Ruddington Christmas market was a brilliant time for us as the Guide Dogs received a lovely donation after our lucky dip stall proved to be a hit. And we recently donated an oak tree to James Peacock School, to celebrate their 50th anniversary. I spent a lot of time researching the best one. I like the idea it will grow for another 50 years. It’s a bit like watching the generations of families coming through here and watching them grow too.
Thanks Lesley! It’s been a blast.