Nationwide pledges ‘we’re in High Streets to stay’ ...for at least two years

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Nationwide Building Society - with a branch in Falkirk’s High Street - has made what it argues is “a bold commitment” not to leave any town or city where it currently operates “for at least two years”.

Repeating many familiar arguments about the need for town centre change it says High Streets need to involve local communities to create vibrant, thriving meeting places.

However the main point of today’s announcement is a guarantee it won’t quit any town or city where it currently operates until “at least” May 2021.

Nationwide adds: “It has been made as far ahead in the future as is possible given Nationwide’s scale and the fact it is not immune to major shifts in consumer behaviour”.

The building society giant, with 650 branches across the UK, goes on to argue that its temporary commitment is part of a staunch commitment to communities - it allocates millions of pounds towards housing issues in various areas.

Joe Garner, chief executive, said: “Healthy high streets are vital in keeping local communities alive.

“They are a major part of our history and identity – a space where we come together.

“But in many cases they have become almost uniquely transactional, despite consumer behaviour highlighting that people increasingly want to relax and enjoy themselves when out shopping.

“We need to rediscover the sense of belonging that has served communities for centuries and as businesses we need to open our doors to people and not just customers”.

Nationwide says a bank or building society branch often acts as a bellwether for the health of a high street and can be a catalyst for growth or decline.