Nationwide to up savings rates as it renews bank branch promise…despite closing 24
Nationwide will increase interest rates across a suite of variable savings deals next month as it reaffirms its commitment not to close any branches. However, 24 have disappeared in the past year.
The mutual said it will increase rates on some of its most popular on and off-sale variable rate savings accounts from 1 July.
Its FlexDirect current account pays an introductory in-credit interest rate of 5% AER on balances up to £1,500 for the first 12 months. After this time, the revert rate will increase by 0.25% to 1% AER.
Previous and current issues of the Triple Access Online ISA and Triple Access Online Saver will increase by 0.10% to 3.30%, while the Loyalty Saver, Loyalty ISA and Loyalty Single Access ISA will also rise 0.10% to 3.30%.
On its instant access accounts – the Instant Access Saver, Instant ISA Saver and Cashbuilder will increase by up to 0.10% on tiers up to £49,999 to either 1.35% or 1.40% AER, depending on the amount saved.
Nationwide’s high street presence
At the same time, the mutual has renewed its promise to keep branches open – that is, to not leave any town or city in which it is based until 2026 “to support and serve the UK’s local communities”.
It first launched the branch promise in 2019, before renewing it in 2020; for a second time in June 2022 and now for the third time until 2026.
The mutual said it continues to invest in branches – currently has a network of 605 – because people want face-to-face service on their local high street, as well as banking digitally or on the phone.
It revealed that despite online options, branches continue to be popular, with nearly half of openings of the recently launched Nationwide Fairer Share Bond arranged in person, while 36% of current accounts have been opened in branch so far this year.
It said over the past three years, it has invested more than £46m in keeping, rather than closing its branch network.
But according to data supplied to LINK – the ATM network – 24 Nationwide branches have closed between May 2022 and April 2023.
Nationwide said the promise ensures it is protecting branches and it will only close a branch “when we absolutely need to”. It gives the example of a lease expiry enforced by a landlord. It added: “We only closed branches where we had multiple branches in a town or city so consolidated and invested in our remaining sites”.
Debbie Crosbie, chief executive of Nationwide Building Society, said: “Nationwide is different. We give customers a choice about how they do their banking and we support the British High Street. Because our customers value face-to-face contact, and we’re owned by them, we act in their interests.”