Millions of pounds of savings are on the move across the West Midlands as disgruntled customers abandon Birmingham Midshires in protest over its decision to close its high street branches.
Mutually-owned building societies that still offer faceto-face services and old style passbook accounts are cashing in on the protest.
They have opened hundreds of new accounts and taken millions of pounds of new deposits from former Midshires customers in recent weeks.
West Bromwich Building Society said its Wednesbury branch alone had opened more than 500 new accounts as Midshires customers ?vote with their feet?.
?They are joining us at the rate of more than 30 a day and when you include our West Bromwich and Dudley branches we have opened more than 600 accounts,? a spokesman said.
The branch in Wednesbury, where the West Brom is now the only bank or building society left in the town centre, saw its savings balances increase by #1.8 million to more than #2.2 million last month.
?We are delighted to welcome so many customers to the West Brom and share the concerns of local people that communities need financial service providers on their high street,? branch development manager Jeyme Lawley said.
?We have very close links to the local community from which we have grown and thrived.
?It would be quite wrong to deprive local people access to the financial advice and help they need.?
The West Brom is the country?s ninth biggest building society with 450,000 savers and 75,000 mortgage borrowers and is about to open its 50th branch.
Its bigger rival, the Coventry, yesterday said that it too was winning new business from disaffected Midshires customers.
?There is no question that we are benefiting and I estimate that we have so far opened about 500 new accounts,? deputy chief executive John Thomson said.
The picture was the same at the much smaller Tipton & Coseley and Dudley building societies, ranked 40th and 45th respectively.
?October will be our best ever month for savings receipts and we estimate that we have taken in about #1 million from former customers of Birmingham Midhsires,? Tipton & Coseley chief executive Chris Martin said.
?People have been literally walking across the street and queuing up outside our branches to open new accounts.
?So far, we have opened 118 accounts and they are still coming in.?
Dudley chief executive Geoff Caves said the society had also gained about #1 million in new deposits.
Midshires customers are particularly interested in the Dudley?s ISA transfer account which is available only to savers with more than #9,000 to invest.
Midshires, the former Wolverhampton-based building society that is now part of the Halifax/Bank of Scotland group, said in September that it would close 48 of its 67 branches throughout the country by early next year with the remaining 19 outlets converted into Halifax branches. It promised that all 470 branch employees would be offered other jobs within the group.
Told that building societies were claiming customers were moving in droves, a Midshires spokesman yesterday said: ?It seems some of our rivals are being opportunistic.?
He went on: ?So far the majority of our branch-based customers have chosen to transact their BM accounts via our telephone, postal and internet service, joining the large number who already do so. Those who do require a counter service have been offered equivalent Halifax accounts.?