Nationwide Building Society has extended its pledge to protect branches in cities and towns across the UK for at least an extra year as part of efforts to help households amid the cost-of-living crisis.
The mutual lender said the promise means that it will not leave any town or city in which it is based without a branch until at least 2024.
It has 625 branches across the UK and had originally set the pledge until at least 2023.
By extending the branch promise, members who face financial difficulties can discuss the practical support we offer in person with specially trained colleaguesDebbie Crosbie
The move comes as part of a push to support customers during the cost crunch and ensure they have access to the lender’s network of advisers for help on finance or advice if they are struggling.
It is also providing extra training for staff in branches to allow them to offer support over the phone, online and digitally, as well as in person.
Nationwide’s new chief executive Debbie Crosbie – who starts in the post today, taking over from former boss Joe Garner – said helping customers in the current crisis was her “immediate priority”.
She said: “By extending the branch promise, members who face financial difficulties can discuss the practical support we offer in person with specially trained colleagues.
“This is the first in a number of initiatives that Nationwide will launch for members in the months ahead.”
The group has made the pledge as fears mount that dwindling numbers of bank branches across the UK will compound the cost crisis for many, particularly those who need access to support and cash to manage on tighter budgets.
It is estimated that more than 4,000 bank branches have closed since 2015 and more than 12,000 free-to-use cash points have vanished since 2018.