Nationwide has reduced its branch opening hours and introduced remote methods of meeting some customers in response to government advice regarding coronavirus.
After the prime minister called for greater care to be taken regarding social distancing and in light of his announcement to lockdown many “non-critical” services and retailers, the building society has moved to reduce opening times until further notice in order to help wider efforts to curtail the spread of the virus.
Core hours for most branches will now be 10am until 2pm from Monday to Friday, and 9am until 12pm on Saturday, with increased distancing between employees and members to give greater confidence and safety.
Nationwide, which has around 650 branches, is continuing to stay open where possible, due to banking being deemed as critical. The building society has needed to close around 50 branches due to low staffing. However, around 450 are operating with the core reduced hours, while the remaining branches have individual opening hours due to local variations
As a result of these measures, Nationwide will stop running the early opening sessions for older people and those with underlying health conditions.
Face-to-face interviews in branches will be stopped as staff focus on providing critical counter services only. Those with pre-booked appointments – for example personal banking, mortgages or financial planning - are being contacted separately to arrange alternative ways of communicating, such as telephone or Nationwide Now – a service that enables customers to visit a branch and talk to someone over a high-definition video link.
Mandy Beech, Nationwide’s director of branches, said: “As a direct result of the latest government advice around coronavirus, our branches will be operating reduced hours. We remain open and we will try to keep as many of our branches open while we are able to. However, where possible we would ask people, particularly those at higher risk, to use online or mobile banking services and to speak to us if they have any needs or concerns. We thank our members for their patience as we know this is an extremely challenging time for many.”