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Santander reportedly lodges complaint about Nationwide ad

(Sharecast News) - Santander UK has filed a formal complaint with Britain's advertising regulator over a Nationwide campaign which it claims "discredits and denigrates" the high street banking sector.

The Spanish-owned lender has told the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that the Nationwide television commercial - featuring the actor Dominic West as an arrogant bank boss - was misleading about its rivals' approach to closing branches, Sky News reported citing unnamed sources.

The complaint was filed during the autumn, soon after the building society campaign launched, but has not been publicly disclosed, the report stated, adding that the ASA has yet to adjudicate on the matter.

It was also reported that a second TV ad from Nationwide would air in the coming days that would be "even more pointed" in highlighting the suggestion that banks have little regard for their customers.

British banks have closed thousands of branches in recent years amid declining usage among customers, but Nationwide - the country's biggest building society - has pledged to keep its network intact, although it too has shut down branches.

The ASA declined to identify Santander UK as the complainant but told Sky: "We've received a complaint about this ad from Nationwide. The complainant argues that the ad is misleading around other banks closing branches, and discredits and denigrates its competitors."

Santander itself was the subject of controversy this week when, along with Lloyds Bank, it was accused of allegedly holding accounts for front companies that helped Iranian entities evade US sanctions.

PCC is alleged to have moved money through a Santander UK business bank account by using a front company registered to a detached house in Surrey, according to documents seen by the Financial Times.

The Tehran-controlled company has been accused by US officials of raising hundreds of millions of dollars for Iran's Revolutionary Guards al-Quds Force and working with Russian intelligence agencies. PCC and its British subsidiary have been under US sanctions since November 2018.

It also used a separate front company to move money through an account at Lloyds Banking Group, the newspaper claimed.

Reporting by Frank Prenesti for Sharecast.com

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