Nationwide has extended its promise to keep all of its physical branches open, as it continues to buck the trend among high street banks.
The UK’s largest building society had already committed to maintain all 605 of its physical branches until 2024, but today it extended that commitment until 2026.
Branches can still be closed if there multiple sites in one area or when a lease expires. 20 branches have been closed in England and Scotland since last year.
Nationwide boss Debbie Crosbie said: “Nationwide is different. We give customers a choice about how they do their banking and we support the British High Street.”
The building society said it has invested over £46m in maintaining its branch network over the previous three years.
Research of 2,000 consumers conducted by Nationwide showed that 77 per cent of people valued or depended on physical branches with 40 per cent citing the value of face-to-face services.
“Because our customers value face-to-face contact, and we’re owned by them, we act in their interests,” Crosbie said.
Nationwide’s commitment comes amid an exodus of mainstream banks from the high street.
More than half of the UK’s bank branches, some 5162, have already been wiped out since 2015 according to consumer group Which?
Earlier this month, Barclays and Lloyds said they would close 63 branches between them, arguing their decision reflected the changing nature of consumer habits.
Figures from Finder show online banking usage stood at 93 per cent in 2022, up from 32 per cent in 2007. However, concerns have been raised that branch closures leave some of the most vulnerable members of society without access to banking services.
The Financial Conduct Authority brought in new guidance last October to clarify the rules on branch closures in an attempt to ensure that banks treat customers fairly when closing branches.