Santander has hit out at Nationwide Building Society for a satirical advert about “big banks” closing branches.
The Spanish-owned lender has reported the building society to the UK’s advertising watchdog over a recent campaign, which Santander claims “discredits and denigrates” the country’s banking industry.
Santander filed a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over Nationwide’s television advertisement.
In the campaign, the actor Dominic West plays the boss of a fictional bank. The complaint alleges the character is “misleading about banks closing branches”
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Santander has filed a complaint over a recent Nationwide advertisement
The advert was released by Nationwide Building Society in October 2023 with Santander filing a complaint to the ASA shortly after, Sky News reports.
Mr West’s bank boss character is shown discussing a large expenses bill before talking about making cutbacks and closing branches.
When one of his banking colleagues cites that Nationwide Building Society are not closing branches, he responds: “We’re not Nationwide, are we?”
At the end of the television advertisement, a voiceover says: “Unlike the big banks, we’re not closing our branches.”
Dominic West appeared as an arrogant ‘big bank’ boss in the building society’s advert
NATIONWIDE BUILDING SOCIETY
In recent years, Britain’s high streets have been hit by widespread bank branch closures.
Research carried out by Which? found that high street banks and building societies have closed 5,835 branches since January 2015, at a rate of around 54 each month.
While Nationwide has also closed branches since then, it renewed its “branch promise” in June 2023, pledging to keep all its existing branches open until at least 2026, unless there are “circumstances outside of our control”.
In 2020, the building society announced a branch promise to not leave any town until 2023, and extended it last year.
Since 2013, Nationwide has closed around 20 per cent of its branches with is significantly less than the majority of the market.
Critics have warned the “alarming rate” of bank branch closures may result in three million Britons being left cashless.
A Nationwide spokesperson told GB News: “We are aware of the complaint made to the ASA and await the outcome. Unlike the big banks, Nationwide has not pursued a significant branch closure programme.
“Since 2013, those banks have closed more than half of their branches. By contrast, we continue to believe face-to-face banking matters. We now have more branches than any other brand and will soon be the last one standing in almost 100 communities.
“Our Branch Promise means that everywhere we have a branch, we’ll still be there until at least 2026.”
Santander declined to comment when approached by GB News.