The UK's Nationwide Building Society has launched a national TV advertising campaign extolling the virtues of branch--based banking.
Using the tagline 'technology is great, but sometimes face-to-face is better', the ad features spoken-word poet SugarJ riffing on the theme of loneliness in a connected world.
Nationwide currently runs a relatively modest network of roughly 650 branches in major towns and cities - a figure which it believes provides adequate coverage for 85% of the UK adult population.
Speaking to The Guardian
, Nationwide director Graheme Hughes, provides a hard-headed assessment of the firm's branch investment strategy, noting that the returns from a larger branch network that extends beyond major urban location do not stack up and are subject to a law of diminishing returns.
Nonetheless, the physical bricks and mortar presence imbues the brand with a reassuring 'halo' effect, which in turn is reflected in pick-up of digital technology. Hughes says that when Nationwide opens a new branch, the number of people using its smartphone app in the area "increases considerably".
For this reason, the Society has allocated £500 million to upgrade its branch network over the next five years, including the installation of new top-of-the-range self-service kit from NCR and video conferencing equipment to connect customers with remote financial specialists for more in-depth conversations.