As other lenders retreat from the high street, Nationwide Building Society has pledged that it will not leave any town or city in which it is based without a branch until at least 2024.
Nationwide has the third largest network of branches in the UK with 625 branches. It first pledged not to leave any town until 2023 in November 2020.
By extending the pledge, the Society says it wants to maintain its presence on the high street in order to provide face-to-face support for customers struggling with financial hardship during the cost of living crisis.
The move comes against a rising backdrop of shuttered bank branches across the UK's high streets. So far this year 214 bank branches have closed in the UK, and a further 272 are scheduled to shut by the end of December, as the nation's largest lenders respond to declining footfall and the rise in popularity of online and mobile banking.
Nationwide's newly-installed chief executive Debbie Crosby, says: “Supporting members through the cost-of-living crisis is my immediate priority. As a mutual, all profit we generate is reinvested for the benefit of our members. This gives us choices about how we best meet their needs. By extending the Branch Promise, members who face financial difficulties can discuss the practical support we offer in person with specially trained colleagues."
There are a number of caveats attached to the pledges, in that the Society may close branches in the event of a lease expiry, or where there are multiple branches in an area and where a branch needs significant financial investment and there are branches nearby.