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Improving branch services for the whole community

Date published: 10 April 2024

Read time: 3 minutes

Newcastle Building Society Darlington Branch exterior

Recent research by Newcastle Building Society explored people’s attitude to branches across the different generations.  

Gen Z want their branch to offer welfare support and advice


Millennials want help with teaching children about managing money


Gen X like the sound of a branch that includes a café


Baby Boomers want branches to be located in the places they visit


60% of people agreed that branches should do more to appeal to people across all groups, and some of the most in-demand additional services a branch could provide included welfare support, cafés, and parcel-drop off services.

Around half of Millennials (aged 27-42), prefer to visit their branch to speak to someone face-to-face over managing all of their finances online. Over half (60%) were concerned that branches don’t offer anything of value to younger Gen Z people (aged 11-18) and need to do more to encourage them to use branches.

Being able to easily access financial services was the top priority for the Baby Boom Generation. Almost half (41%) said that they wanted their branch to be conveniently located and 52% appreciated being able to speak to a friendly and knowledgeable person there.

The results of our survey show that banks and building societies need to think differently about their branches and what people want from them.

One way we’re taking a fresh approach to branches is through expansion of our community partnership branch model, with plans to open a new branch in North Shields this summer, in partnership with local charity, YMCA North Tyneside.

A CGI of what our brand new North Shields branch in the YMCA North Tyneside community building will look like.

Our new North Shields branch will be located inside the YMCA North Tyneside community building in the heart of the town, and we’ll be sharing space with the charity’s popular café, gym, meeting rooms, and supported accommodation. The charity also operates a popular day nursery in the building next door.

Design: Grace Choi Architecture

Visualisation: NVision Studios

It is just one part of a series of investments into our branch network and face-to-face services, which includes the creation of a new flagship community branch in Newcastle city centre, and a new branch in Tynemouth library to be delivered in partnership with North Tyneside Council. 

Andrew Haigh, chief executive officer at Newcastle Building Society, said: “The YMCA North Tyneside is a hive of activity attracting generations of local people, including those grabbing a coffee at its café or working out at its gym. Our new branch will play a key role in helping busy local people to maintain access to financial services conveniently and to have face-to-face conversations about their money with a friendly face in branch.

Andrew Haigh, chief executive officer at Newcastle Building Society, stood outside

"Many of the proposed alternatives to bank branches focus simply on processing transactions and fail to value human interaction. We believe people deserve a choice – the convenience of digital as well as the reassurance and accessibility that comes from being able to pop into a local branch and have a conversation with someone they know and trust."

Andrew Haigh

Chief Executive Officer

"Our blueprint for future branches takes a more creative approach, looking at new ways, new partnerships and new locations where we can continue to offer the level of service, reassurance and convenience that’s only available at a local branch."

Since 2015, nearly 6,000 branches have closed across the UK. Despite this national trend, we are continuing to invest in and grow our branch network across the North East, Cumbria and North Yorkshire.

North Shields branch will be our fifth community partnership branch and builds on our innovative concept that has already successfully restored or improved face-to-face financial services in Yarm, Hawes, Knaresborough, and Wooler.

Download the press release (PDF, 181kB).

Research conducted by Opinion Matters for Newcastle Building Society among 2,445 nationally-representative UK adults from 22.11.2023 – 27.11.2023. Opinion Matters abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

Generations categorised as: The Silent Generation, aged 78+; Baby Boomers, aged 59-77; Gen X, aged 43-58; Millennials, aged 27-42; Gen Z, aged 16-26.

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A CGI of what our brand new North Shields branch in the YMCA North Tyneside community building will look like.

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