A building society is set to close 15,000 bank accounts that could leave thousands of small charities looking for a new savings account.
Nationwide launched its Treasurers Trust accounts in the 1980s, but the scheme was closed to new business more than six years ago because of “extremely low customer demand”.
The product was originally designed for clubs, societies and charities, many of which had a specific purpose such as saving for a new clubhouse.
The building society said many of its customers no longer required the accounts and had just forgotten to close them.
It began the process of closing its 79,000 Treasurers Trust accounts two years ago. It shut 64,000 such accounts in 2019, but paused the process because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nationwide estimated that more than two-thirds of the accounts are dormant and nearly two-thirds had a balance of less than £100.
In 2012, the building society launched a range of savings accounts designed to support the needs of businesses, including charities, that it said was better than its previous product.
But it acknowledged that these accounts might not meet the needs of all Treasurers Trust customers, which might have to find an alternative account with another provider.
The bank said it was providing customers with an extended notice period of 90 days before their account was closed.
A spokesperson for the bank said: “The closure of accounts has been paused due to the pandemic. However, to give customers as much time as possible to consider the options available to them, we have been raising awareness of the closures where possible through conversations in branch when customers use their account and have also written to some of our most active customers.
“Our initial contact was to provide active customers with plenty of time to consider what options are available to them with Nationwide – or, indeed, elsewhere.”