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Boost for British high street as Nationwide rebrands and pledges to keep branches open

Britain’s biggest building society says it’s determined to keep supporting customers in person just as banks shut physical outlets

Independent Reporters
Monday 09 October 2023 12:15 BST
A rebranded branch in Cardiff
A rebranded branch in Cardiff (Nationwide )

Nationwide is giving the Great British high street a patriotic shot in the arm with its biggest rebrand in decades.

Rolling out the chic new design at the stroke of midnight, Britain’s biggest building society will overhaul the high street with a red, white and blue rebrand across hundreds of branches and thousands of ATMs up and down the country.

The move will add style to substance amid their ongoing committment to high street branches as they promise to keep the doors open – just as shareholder-owned rivals are pulling down the shutters.

Praising the building society’s stylish new rebrand and faith in bricks-and-mortar outlets, Nationwide chief executive Debbie Crosbie said:  “Our rebrand keeps us relevant for customers today and tomorrow.”

Alongside the elegant branches, all payment cards and customer letters and emails will be updated with the new branding along with the slogan “A Good Way to Bank”.

The new-look branding for logos, literature and cards (Nationwide)

Banks have been steadily closing branches after some customers switched to using online services. But the change has isolated people without internet access, those who benefit from personal interaction and residents who want to keep high streets alive.

Nationwide, which will update all 605 of its branches with the new branding, says it is determined to protect face-to-face service, which is invaluable to many customers, including the vulnerable.

In May, the society returned £340m of profit to 3.4 million eligible members through its first “Nationwide fairer share” payment, each receiving £100.

The following month, the society extended its “branch promise”, meaning it will not leave any town or city in which it is based until at least 2026.

And last month, Nationwide launched an offer of £200 cash to new customers switching their current account to it, as well as a linked savings account paying 8 per cent interest.

While bank branches are closing because they are unprofitable, the Nationwide says its branches are still extremely busy with customers wanting face-to-face service, and this year have had more customers in person opening savings accounts than at any time since 2015.

“We’ve seen very steady footfall for the past 18 months,” a spokesperson said. “We’ve not recorded a drop in branch usage since the pandemic, with some branches having returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Between January and July, our branches saved customers from losing over £4m to fraudsters and scammers

Nationwide spokesperson

“We are seeing increases in branch conversations around mortgages and savings, and more complex enquiries such as fraud.

“Between January and July, our branches have saved our customers from losing over £4m to fraudsters and scammers.”

The image overhaul will be its biggest in a generation - since 1987, when the average house cost just £40,882. Today, it costs £257,808, representing a rise in the house-price-to-earnings ratio from 4.1 to 6.4.

The Wimborne branch (©Redhouse Photography)
Old look: The new Nationwide design adds a touch of style compared to previous interations such as this (Mike Egerton/PA Wire)

Building society bosses say the rebrand is aimed at ensuring the member-owned mutual remains “attractive and relevant for future generations of customers looking for a financial services provider that puts people before profit”. They are promising to beat rivals on service, value and fairness.

Chief executive Crosbie added: “Nationwide is the large-scale alternative to shareholder-owned banks.

“We offer a good way to bank for our customers through our national network of branches, better service, value and fairness. Our rebrand keeps us relevant for customers today and tomorrow.”

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