Nationwide Building Society pledges to 'extend bank branch closure promise' to Virgin Money after takeover

Nationwide and Virgin Money branch signs

Nationwide has agreed to takeover Virgin Money but what does that mean for the bank's branches?

NATIONWIDE/VIRGIN MONEY
Patrick O'Donnell

By Patrick O'Donnell


Published: 22/06/2024

- 00:01

Bank branch closures have become the norm across the UK but Nationwide Building Society has pledged to remain a presence on the high street following its takeover of Virgin Money

Nationwide Building Society has recommitted to keeping its banking services in Britain's high streets and will be extending that pledge to include Virgin Money branches.

The UK has seen 6,000 bank branch closures since 2015 but the building society is one of the few financial institutions promising to keep branches open or at least keep physical services operating.


It appears Virgin Money will also join Nationwide in keeping many of its branches open despite the wave of branch closures in recent years.

Earlier this year, the building society confirmed it had acquired the bank in a £2.9billion deal which both parties claimed would "deliver greater value" to customers.

Furthermore, Nationwide extended is "Branch Promise" to early 2028 in a major boon for the building society's customers.

As part of this promise, the financial institution will not leave any UK town or city it is currently operating in for the next two years.

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Virgin Money branch

Virgin Money branches will remain a part of the UK's high streets for the foreseeable future

GETTY

In a statement, the building society reaffirmed its "Branch Promise" to customers and shared how the exiting Virgin Money sites will be impacted in the years ahead.

The high street lender stated: "We have extended our Branch Promise by two years, meaning everywhere we have a Nationwide branch, we promise to still be there until at least the start of 2028.

"Over time, we will add Virgin Money’s branches to our existing network of more than 600 Nationwide branches. In the meantime, we have extended our Branch Promise to Virgin Money’s existing branches.

"Even where we have a Nationwide branch and a Virgin Money branch close by, we promise to keep them both open until at least the start of 2028."

In response to the deal, more than 4,700 people have signed a petition calling on the building society to letits voters vote on its decision to takeover Virgin Money.

According to the petition, the offering provides "no guarantee" that existing and future customers will benefit "in any way".

Providing an update, Nationwide has claimed the £2.9billion deal will allow the country's second largest building society to provide "better mortgages and savings rates".

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the UK's competition regulator, has launched an inquiry into the merger which would be the largest of its kind in the banking sector since the Great Recession.

Around 90 per cent of Virgin Money shareholders who voted for the deal supported it, while Nationwide members were not asked their say on the merger.

Currently, the CMA has set a deadline of July 26 for its phase one decision into whether it will pursue a formal investigation.

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Debbie Crosbie, Nationwide's chief executive, said: “In March 2024, we confirmed our offer to buy Virgin Money.

"I believe this deal offers an exciting opportunity to create a more diverse business that delivers even more value to our members and will strengthen Nationwide financially.

"We continue to make good progress on our plans and expect to complete the acquisition in the fourth quarter of 2024, subject to regulatory approval.”

Kevin Parry, the building society's chairman, added: "The acquisition of Virgin Money will bring the benefits of mutual ownership to more people in the UK and will enable us to provide further value to customers and members through its products and services.”

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