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But only minority happy to give up visiting their local branch

The popularity of internet and telephone banking is greatest in the South East of England but users are as unwilling as those in other regions to abandon their bank or building society branch, according to a Nationwide survey.

Internet use is highest in the South East, where 39% of adults have access. This compares with 32% in the Midlands, 27% in the North of England and 25% in Wales & South West.

The South East also has the highest proportion of current account holders banking online at 14%. It is 11% in Wales & South West and the North, and 9% in the Midlands.

Use of the telephone for banking is also much higher in the South East, used at least occasionally by 48% of bank or building society customers. The figures are 36% in the North and 35% in Wales & South West and the Midlands.

However, only 6% of those surveyed in the South East say they never visit a branch. It is slightly greater elsewhere - 7% in the North, 8% in the Midlands and 10% in Wales & South West.

The findings come on the eve of the 4th anniversary of retail internet banking in the UK. The first such service was launched by Nationwide on 29 May 1997.

Jim Willens, Nationwide e-commerce director, said: "People living in the South East of England tend to spend a lot longer commuting to and from work. So it's not surprising that they make more use of internet and telephone banking than those living in other parts of the country.

"However, it's equally clear from our survey that they still value the convenience and reassurance of a branch presence, even if they can only visit it occasionally. Like customers elsewhere, they want as much choice as possible when it comes to doing their banking."

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Notes to editors:

MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,917 adults (16+) within Great Britain on behalf of Nationwide between 8 and 12 March.

Nationwide has more than 700,000 members registered for internet banking. They can use PCs, Macs and Microsoft PocketPC-run personal digital assistants (PDAs) to access their accounts, in addition to Nationwide branches, post and telephone.

Nationwide was runner-up overall in the latest Gomez survey of online banks, as well as outright winner for "ease-of-use", "relationship services" and "best bank for the first-time internet banker". See for further details.

For further information, please contact:

Peter Brown, senior press officer, 01793 655423

Jennifer Stoddart, senior press officer, 01793 655203

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Nationwide Building Society in the following categories: Consumer Technology, Personal Finance, Business & Finance, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit