For our recent Member Spotlight feature, we caught up with Michael Belli, Senior Branch Manager at Nationwide on Eden Street, as he looks back on how they’ve adapted their services over the pandemic to continue helping their members while keeping everyone safe.
“Over the three years I have worked at the branch I have got used to seeing a thriving shopping centre, packed riverside and a very busy branch. However, this all changed when Covid-19 started. All of a sudden streets were empty, shops closed as we were told to Stay Home, Save Lives and Protect the NHS. After the Government announcement, Nationwide made the decision that all branches would open 10-2pm to provide basic financial services for members who needed to come into branch for essential reasons.
We helped our members to use ATM’s to minimise contact with staff to stop the spread of the virus. I also had a duty of care to look after my people and members so we made changes in branch to ensure social distancing was being enforced. During the pandemic the Kingston community have been fantastic; people have been very understanding and patient whilst we ensure we are keeping the branch safe and secure.
There are a number things we have done for members during the pandemic which I am proud of. For those that are shielding we safely and securely made sure they could access their cash, we offered overdraft holidays and payment holidays on mortgages. I know that this relief has been a massive help to many who have come under financial pressure. Recently, we have supported “Growbaby” in our local community who provide gifts to underprivileged children. We raised £1900 which provided 92 Christmas presents to those who wouldn’t have received one otherwise.
As we start getting used to this new normal one thing that hasn’t changed is our member needs. People still want to move, especially with the stamp duty announcement. Members still want to open a current account and still want to save for that rainy day. We cannot do face-to-face appointments at the moment but how my team have adjusted to doing this over the phone has been amazing – the members love being able to open products safe from their home.
We are now back to the hours of 9-3pm and after we shut the branch doors we now do different work to help members from supporting the contact centre with calls and responding to member queries. This has allowed the team to learn new skills and support customers in different ways. Who knows what the next few months hold? One thing for sure is my team at Kingston will certainly look after and help any member (existing or new) that needs us. We are one Kingston community.”
We love to hear from our members how things are going. If you’re interested in contributing a Member Spotlight blog, which is often featured in our member and consumer newsletters, please contact joelle.fry@kingtonfirst.