Nationwide ad banned over ‘not closing branches’ claim

A TV advert for Nationwide that claimed the building society was not closing branches has been banned by the UK advertising watchdog.

The ad featured actor Dominic West as an arrogant bank boss planning branch closures. A voice-over stated: “Unlike the big banks we’re not closing our branches” and on-screen text referred to Lloyds, Bank of Scotland/Halifax, Natwest, Barclays, Santander and HSBC.

Similar claims were made in radio and press ads as part of the campaign.

Among the 282 complainants was Nationwide’s rival Santander, which argued that Nationwide had recently closed or reduced opening hours at a number of branches.

Responding to inquiries by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), Nationwide said that its under its 2023 Branch Promise the building society would not close any of its branches until at least 2026.

However, the regulator said that the timeframe of its claim was not made clear enough in the ads. It added that consumers were likely understand from the ads that Nationwide would not be closing branches in the long-term future and that it had not recently closed branches.

As a result, the ASA ruled that the ads were misleading and must not appear again in their current form.