NATIONWIDE Building Society has extended its promise to keep high street branches open for another two years at least.

The Swindon-based business with a branch in Regent Street has pledged not to leave any town or city in which it is already based without a branch until 2024 at the earliest.

While many services can be accessed online, the building society - which has its headquarters on Pipers Way - feels it is still important to provide face-to-face help and practical support for those who need it the most as people face the cost-of-living crisis.

By extending its promise, Nationwide is ensuring that members are able to speak to someone if they need help with their finances or advice if they are struggling.

The society is providing additional training for employees in branches to ensure that they can meet member needs in a wider range of ways - including by telephone, online and digitally, as well as in person.

Debbie Crosbie has now taken on the chief executive role at Nationwide Building Society.

She said: "Supporting members through the cost-of-living crisis is my immediate priority. That’s why I’ve decided to extend our Promise to keep branches on the high street.

“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.  

“This is the first in a number of initiatives that Nationwide will launch for members in the months ahead.”

Debbie is the first female chief executive in the building society’s 175-year history, taking over from outgoing chief exec Joe Garner.

The extended promise to retain a physical presence in its existing branch locations comes after a healthy financial year for the building society.

Nationwide's underlying profits more-than-doubled from £790m in April 2021 to £1,604m in April 2022 while statutory profit increased to £1,597m compared to £853m last year.

The extra cash will be invested back into what the mutual model can offer its members, such as potentially improving rates or investing in service propositions and tech.

Any Nationwide member who is struggling with their finances as energy bills and other costs rise is urged to contact staff to see what support options are available.