NATIONWIDE has recently won praise for standing by its members through tough economic times and underlined the extent of that support in interim results published today.

The historic building society, which can trace its roots back to 1884, announced that it had delivered its highest-ever value to members in the six months ended September 30.

The £1.23 billion of value delivered included payments of £100 to more than 3.4 million customers to help them with the cost-of-living crisis. Member financial benefit increased to £885 million, from £320m at the same stage last year, supported by interest rates on savings products which the mutual said are higher than the market average.

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Of course, Nationwide has been benefiting from the recent surge in interest rates as much as its shareholder-owned competitors on the high street. The boost to income from interest rates was made clear as profits at the lender increased to £989m from £969m in the first half.

But while stock-market listed banks have been criticised for not passing enough of the benefit of higher interest rates to savers, Nationwide has shown its support for its members through its much-welcomed cash payment and its more generous rates for savers.

Moreover, its branch promise, under which it has pledged to not leave any town or city it is currently based in until at least 2026, is also likely to have been well received by the public.

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While Nationwide cautioned this morning that the outlook for the economy remains uncertain, Debbie Crosbie, the society’s Scottish chief executive, was entitled to be optimistic about the lender’s current performance and future prospects in comments issued with its results this morning.

“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,” she said. “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.”