NATIONWIDE, the historic mutual led by Scot Debbie Crosbie, has declared that it delivered record benefits to its members in the first half of its financial year, including £344 million of payments to help customers with the cost of living crisis this summer.

The building society said today that it provided £1.23 billion in value to its members as it announced profits increased to £989m in the first half, compared with £969m at the same stage last year.

Profits were boosted by the impact of rising interest rates, which drove a rise in underlying income to £2.45bn, up from £2.19bn.

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Nationwide also reported growth in both members' deposits and mortgage balances, which respectively increased by 9.6% to £191.3bn, and by 12.2% to £202.3bn.

The mutual recently drawn favourable press for supporting its members during the cost of living crisis, and has recently underlined its commitment to maintaining its branch footprint while shareholder-owned banks continue to trim their networks.

It has pledged to not leave any town or city it is currently based in until at least 2026. As of October 1, it had 605 branches on UK high streets, more than any other major bank or building society.

The institution made payments of £100 to more than 3.4 million members in June, at a total cost of £344m, to ease the pressure on households from inflation and rising interest rates.

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Member financial benefit increased in the first half to £885m, which the mutual said was supported by the strength of its savings and mortgages products. It noted that it had passed a greater proportion of interest rate rises than the market average.

Ms Crosbie, who has led Nationwide since June last year, said: “Nationwide is performing strongly, and our strategy is to safeguard the future strength of the Society and provide a good way to bank for customers.

“We are the main challenger to shareholder-owned banks and use our mutual status to make a meaningful impact on communities and improve society.

“Our rebrand in October 2023 was the most significant in 36 years and will help us to build stronger relationships with our customers, now and in the future.”

Nationwide said credit impairment charges were lower at £54m, down from £108m. Arrears increased slightly but remained low, though the building society cautioned that higher interest rates, inflationary pressures, and the uncertain economic outlook are key risks.