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Nationwide Advert Banned for Misleading Claim about Branch Closures

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Nationwide Building Society’s television commercial, featuring actor Dominic West and satirising branch closures by rival banks, has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for misleading consumers.

The advert claimed that Nationwide was not closing its branches, unlike “big banks,” which drew complaints from competitors and triggered an investigation by the ASA.

The regulator found the claim to be misleading as Nationwide had recently closed branches, even more than Santander, which was referenced in the advert. While Nationwide has made a branch promise not to close any sites until at least 2026, the ASA ruled that the advert failed to accurately convey this information, leading consumers to believe Nationwide had not recently closed branches.

Although Nationwide had closed the smallest percentage of branches compared to other financial institutions over a ten-year period, the ASA deemed the closure of 20% of their estate, amounting to 152 branches, to be significant. The regulator concluded that the adverts were misleading because they implied Nationwide would not be closing branches in the long-term future and had not recently closed branches.

In response, Nationwide stated that they acknowledged the ASA’s decision and would roll out updated versions of the adverts to clarify their extended branch promise until 2028. The building society aims to make their commitment to keeping branches open more explicit in their advertising moving forward.

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