Santander has reported a Nationwide advert starring actor Domonic West to the advertising regulator, according to reports.
The advert, released last October, sees West play the role of a bank boss mocking customers, expensing a company lunch and planning branch closures.
After a seeing Nationwide building across the street and a colleague noting that it had not closed branches, West’s character says: “We’re not Nationwide, are we? We’re nothing like them.”
The advert ends with a voiceover saying: “Unlike the big banks, we’re not closing our branches.”
The Advertising Standards Authority has confirmed it was reviewing a complaint alleging that the advert was misleading and “discredits and denigrates” the building society’s competitors.
West is known for playing roles including Jimmy McNulty in The Wire and Prince Charles in The Crown.
A spokesperson for the Advertising Standard Authority said: “We’ve received a complaint about a Nationwide ad. The complainant argues that the ad is misleading around other banks closing branches, and discredits and denigrates its competitors.”
The watchdog has not yet decided whether to launch a formal investigation.
Banks across the UK have increasingly been closing branches, which are costly to run, in recent years as part of a transition to digital services. British lenders closed 645 branches last year, according to Which?.
Nationwide has touted a pledge to keep all of its current branches open until at least 2026, barring circumstances “outside of our control”.
A Nationwide spokesperson said: “We are aware of the complaint made to the ASA and await the outcome. Unlike the big banks, Nationwide has not pursued a significant branch closure programme.
“We now have more branches than any other brand and will soon be the last one standing in almost 100 communities. Our Branch Promise means that everywhere we have a branch, we’ll still be there until at least 2026.”
City A.M. approached Santander UK for comment.
Sky News first reported the story.