Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Nationwide Building Society is to open some of its branches an hour early to provide dedicated services to elderly and vulnerable customers ahead of the general public.
The move comes as the UK government advises people over the age of 70 and those with underlying health conditions to self-isolate and reduce social contact for at least the next four months.
Nationwide intends to open 100 branches at 8am, rather than 9am, reserving the extra hour for elderly customers, who will additionally benefit from an overnight deep clean of the premises.
If successful, the experiment will be extended across the UK building society's entire 650-strong branch estate.
Mandy Beech, Nationwide’s branch network director, says: “We understand the current situation is likely to hit the elderly and vulnerable the hardest, not only because of the higher risk of catching coronavirus, but also through potentially feeling isolated from the wider world should this issue continue for a longer period."
High street neighbour Santander, meanwhile, is placing the emphasis on telephone and digital support, opening a dedicated customer phone line for Covid-19-related financial queries, updating its chatbot capabilities to address customer questions, and increasing the number of staff available to assist customers financially impacted by Coronavirus.