Chris Bose, is the Head of Public Affairs for Nationwide.
As a mutual, Nationwide Building Society is owned by, and run for, our 16 million members. We’re one of the largest savings providers and in 2021/22 we helped one in seven first time buyers into a home of their own.
Our mutual model is what defines us and often means we take a different approach. We were founded over 130 years ago to help our members through the tough times, and we are still doing this today. It’s clear that the cost of living crisis is putting pressure on households’ finances and for many on lower incomes their situation is very difficult indeed. While Nationwide cannot solve this crisis alone, we can and will do everything we can to help take some of the pressure off our members and colleagues – particularly those who are hardest hit.
We have already taken important steps to increase support for members by extending our branch commitment, to leave no town or city currently served by Nationwide without a branch, to 2024. We have opened a dedicated cost of living helpline and we have ensured that all frontline colleagues receive training to provide additional cost-of-living help for members, whether in branch or on the telephone.
For those in financial hardship, Nationwide provides a range of tailored options to help members get back on track – regardless of whether they are struggling with their mortgage, unsecured lending or overdrafts. This ensures members receive the appropriate level and type of support to help them return to financial health. This could be either short-term respite or longer-term support. We work with a range of partners to provide support to members experiencing financial hardship, giving them access to bespoke and specialist services. We can take this broad approach because we are a mutual and our focus is on our members, using the profit we make for their benefit.
In the last year Nationwide provided over £7.5 million to support members and wider society experiencing financial difficulties through charitable partnerships. This includes those struggling with debt, vulnerable members as well as through grants to community groups across the UK.
Young people have been particularly affected by the challenges of the last few years, and they should not have to miss out on the benefits enjoyed by older generations. We are determined that we continue to help those wanting to own a home of their own to get onto the ladder.
As the largest building society, we measure our performance based on what matters most to our members – providing excellent service, delivering long-term value and maintaining financial strength. We believe that mutuals are central to a vibrant and diverse economy. Building societies offer consumers a lower risk, member-focused alternative to banks.
Nationwide was formed when like-minded people came together to pool their savings, however small, and help each other buy homes of their own and improve their lot. This founding principle, of working together to find solutions to the challenges of the day, is still at our core. Over a century later, our purpose remains the same. We know we cannot tackle the cost of living crisis alone and believe that it is only through working together that we will solve this current challenge.
If you would be interested in speaking to Nationwide on any of the issues above, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.