Friday 21 May 2021 9:58 am

Nationwide customers saved a further £10.6bn over the pandemic

Customer deposited increased by £10.6bn throughout the pandemic, Nationwide said today, while remote working has made its workforce ‘more productive’ in the year to 4 April.

With lockdown restrictions closing high streets and putting a pin in travel, Nationwide found deposits increased by double what they increased by in 2019, as customers stashed cash into savings accounts.

Customers deposits grew by £5.7bn in 2019, highlighting the spending limit of multiple lockdowns and the ‘financial strength’ of the high street lender over the pandemic, CEO Joe Garner said.

“Remote working has been popular with colleagues and made us more productive. The flexibility also helps us better serve our members,” Nationwide said, adding that it is “therefore adopting a flexible working model into the future, where colleagues can choose where they work.”

Nationwide is the latest to confirm a full-flexible working model for its 13,000 staff, with the Bank of Ireland UK launching flexible working hubs last month.

The building society offered 256,000 mortgage payment holidays and 105,000 payment breaks for loans and credit cards to those who financially struggled during the pandemic.

As well as deposits, Nationwide’s pre-tax profits nearly doubled from £466m to £823m, as cost-cutting measures collided with a rise in income across the business.

Mortgages remained strong, as the lender confirmed a 95 per cent mortgages return for first-time buyers and home movers yesterday.

The stamp duty holiday saw many customers taking advantage of the pandemic-induced rule, which saw overall mortgage lending dip slightly to £29.6bn from £30.9bn in 2019.

Cost-cutting, which included the lender’s flexible working style, guided a profit boost as administrative expenses were cut by £94m to £2.2bn, according to bosses.

This was in part due to lower running costs during the pandemic and comes as Nationwide said its 13,000 staff can work more flexibly in the future.

“It has been a tough year, one that tested the resilience of people and businesses,” Garner added.

“We entered the crisis in a position of financial strength and, in the face of a highly uncertain environment, we took steps to protect our finances.”