Nationwide Building Society

Nationwide Building Society
Nationwide Building Society
Type Building Society (Mutual)
Industry Banking and Financial Services
Founded merger of societies dating back to 1846
Headquarters Swindon, Wiltshire, England
Key people Geoffrey Howe, Chairman
Graham Beale, Chief Executive
Products Retail banking, Savings
Mortgage loans, Investments, Insurance, Current accounts, Loans, Car insurance, Home insurance, Travel insurance, Credit cards
Net income £495.3 million GBP (April 2008), Green Arrow Up.svg6.8% from 2007
Total assets £202.3 billion GBP (April 2009), Green Arrow Up.svgfrom 2008
Employees 19,000
Divisions Cheshire Building Society
Derbyshire Building Society
Dunfermline Building Society
Website Nationwide Building Society

Nationwide Building Society is a British building society, and is the largest in the world. It has its headquarters in Swindon, England, and maintains significant administration centres in Bournemouth and Northampton. Until mid-2009, when it announced the withdrawal of the service, it had been the only UK financial institution to offer completely fee-free transactions (both electronic and cash withdrawals) worldwide with its VISA debit cards. Nationwide was by far the largest British building society that did not convert to a bank in the wave of demutualisations that occurred from the late 1980s to the late 1990s. As of 2008, it is larger than all the other remaining British building societies combined, measured by total assets.[1] It is a member of the Building Societies Association and the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

Nationwide Building Society provides financial services both directly, and through around 700 branches. Nationwide is a major provider of both mortgage loans and savings in the UK, as well as personal banking such as loans, credit cards, bank accounts and insurance products. is the main website and sells most products and has around 4.5 million monthly visitors and 1.9 million active internet bankers.

The Society's origins lie in Wiltshire (1846), Northampton (1848) and within the co-operative movement in London (1883).[2] Over a hundred mergers later — most notably the merger between the Nationwide and the Anglia Building Society in 1987 — they are now the UK's third largest mortgage lender and savings provider. More significantly, it is the largest building society in the world and committed to staying mutual. The society is keen to emphasise that it does not have shareholders, it has members.

In August 2007 the Society merged with Portman Building Society, creating a mutual body with assets of more than £160bn.

In the financial crisis of 2007–2010, the Nationwide has acted to safeguard the mutual sector, acquiring the ailing Cheshire and Derbyshire building societies in September 2008[3][4][5][6] and the Dunfermline Building Society on 30 March 2009.[7] No member votes were taken, and no windfall benefit were given to society members. The Derbyshire, Cheshire and Dunfermline brand names will continue as separate trading arms of the Nationwide group.

In October 2011, Moody's Analytics downgraded the credit rating of 12 UK financial firms, including Nationwide, because of a reduced likelihood of government support for smaller institutions in any financial crisis.[8]



  • 2010
    • September 2010 - Nationwide CEO, Graham Beale, closed his e-mail address following huge numbers of e-mails from customers about proposed changes to the company's FlexAccount. [9] A new e-mail account was opened a few days later, following adverse publicity in the press.
  • 2009
    Nationwide Building Society's head office in Swindon, Wiltshire.
    • 25 November 2009 - Nationwide wins the Office of Fair Trading test case regarding the fairness and legality of its unauthorised overdraft charges on its current account, the FlexAccount. [10]
    • 6 May 2009 - Nationwide to begin passing on Visa fee for credit card transactions conducted outside Europe. Debit and Credit Card customers will begin to be charged from 1 June 2009.[11] Previously there was no fee for transactions conducted abroad on Nationwide credit or debit cards.
    • 30 March 2009 - Nationwide agrees to purchase the branches, deposits and good loans of Dunfermline Building Society[7]
    • 24 March 2009 - Nationwide opens a direct savings branch in Dublin, Ireland called Nationwide UK (Ireland)[12]
    • 7 March 2009 - A protest is held in Bagshot, Surrey against the closure of the local branch of Nationwide, the village's only bank[13][14]
  • 2008
    • 15 December 2008 - The merger with the Cheshire Building Society is officially complete and the Cheshire becomes a trading division of the Nationwide.
    • 1 December 2008 - The merger with the Derbyshire Building Society is officially completed and it now becomes a trading division of the Nationwide.
    • 8 September 2008 - Media reports and Nationwide confirmation of merger between themselves, The Derbyshire and the Cheshire Building Societies - with the successor society being known as the Nationwide Building Society with the Derbyshire and Cheshire retaining their own branding and products.
  • 2007
    • 28 August 2007 - Nationwide completes merger with the former Portman Building Society
    • 1 April 2007 - Graham Beale (Group Finance Director) takes over as Chief Executive following the retirement of Philip Williamson.
    • Fined £980,000 by the Financial Services Authority after an enquiry into the theft of an employee's laptop exposed security flaws.[15] On 20 February 2007 it was reported that this fine would be paid by Nationwide's members rather than by the directors who were directly accountable.[16]
  • 2006
    • Experienced a security breach that potentially compromised the personal information of members after a society laptop computer was stolen from an employee's home during a burglary in August 2006.[17] However, no customers have lost any money as a result.[18]
  • 2004
    • Nationwide overtakes the clearing bank Barclays to become Britain's fourth largest mortgage lender, with more than 1 million mortgage customers.
Former head office, New Oxford House in Holborn, London.
  • 2001
    • Society carpetbaggers propose a resolution for another vote by Nationwide members to convert the society to a bank. The resolution is rejected by the Nationwide board on legal grounds.
  • 2000
    • Cash machine surcharge campaigning in 1999 results in withdrawals from most cash machines owned by UK banks becoming free for customers of all banks and building societies throughout the UK.
  • 1999
    • Nationwide Building Society, together with various UK tabloid newspapers and media, launches a campaign against controversial cash machine fees. The campaign reaches a peak when Barclays Bank announces a plan to charge all customers of rival banks and financial providers, including those of Nationwide, £1 for every cash machine withdrawal made from a Barclays-owned cash machine. This prompts Nationwide Building Society to warn Barclays that it would take legal action against the bank if it did not back down. Nationwide claims Barclays has broken the rules of the LINK network of cash machines, which the bank had joined earlier the same year.
  • 1998
    • Society members seeking a windfall, branded as carpetbaggers by the UK media, meant Nationwide members go to vote on whether to demutualise the society and float on the London Stock Exchange. The attempt fails, despite media reports of possible pay-outs to members of around £1,000 to £1,500 each, as Nationwide members vote by a narrow margin of 33,700 against converting the building society into a bank.[19]
    • At its Swindon headquarters, Nationwide pilots the use of iris recognition in cash machines. This project was since cancelled due to it not being cost effective.[20]
  • 1997
    • Launches the UK’s first internet banking service on 27 May 1997.[21]
  • 1991
    • The first Visa/Delta debit card in the world from a Building Society is launched by Nationwide. Barclays, TSB and Lloyds Bank had already been providing them, but they were banks, not Building Societies.
  • 1987
    • Merger of the Nationwide and Anglia Building Society. The new society is known as Nationwide Anglia Building Society at first, but the word Anglia is dropped in 1992. The merger also results in the now-familiar Nationwide logo. The new Society subsequently absorbed the City of Derry Building Society (not to be confused with the current Society of that name, until 2001 known as the Londonderry Provident).
A high-street branch of Nationwide Building Society in Peterborough, Cambs.
  • 1975
    • Transfer of engagements of the Marlborough Building Society to Nationwide.[22]
  • 1970
    • The Co-operative Permanent Building Society changes its name to Nationwide Building Society. The name was suggested by the then chairman, Leonard E. H. Williams, and borrowed from the BBC current affairs programme, Nationwide.


"Sponsored by" logo
"Sponsored by you" logo

The company is the former title sponsor of the Football League, the Football Conference and the FA Women's Premier League. Nationwide also sponsored the four national teams of the United Kingdom: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland until 2010 and also the football teams Northampton Town and Swindon Town until 2007 when the contracts were terminated. Nationwide has offices in both towns.

The sponsorship of the Football League lasted from 1996 until 2004, while the sponsorship of the Conference ran from 1999 until 2007.

The company used to be the sponsor of the Nationwide Mercury Music Prize until March 2009. The prize is currently presented by BarclayCard.


Nationwide also owns several subsidiary companies, including:

  • First Nationwide - an investment company.
  • Foundation Insurance Limited - Isle of Man based captive insurer.
  • Monument (Sutton) Limited - commercial property rental company.
  • The Mortgage Works (UK) plc - provider of Buy to Let and Self Certification mortgages.
  • Nationwide International Ltd - offshore banking for British expatriates, based in Douglas in the Isle of Man,
  • Nationwide Investments (No.1) Ltd - an investment company.
  • Nationwide Mortgage Corporation Ltd. - acquires and administers commercial mortgage portfolios from third parties.
  • Nationwide Syndications Limited - arranges and participates in syndicated loans to Registered Housing Associations.
  • Nationwide Trust Limited - personal loan service.
  • Nationwide UK (Ireland) - a direct savings provider in the Republic of Ireland.
  • Nationwide Unit Trust Managers Ltd. - offering unit trusts, equity ISAs and Stakeholder Pensions.
  • UCB Home Loans Corporation Ltd - provided specialist mortgage finance, no longer lending.

It also has the following divisions:

Key people

  • Graham Beale - Chief Executive
  • Geoffrey Howe - Chairman
  • Chris Rhodes – Group Product and Marketing Director
  • Mark Rennison - Group Finance Director
  • Matthew Wyles - Group Distribution Director
  • Tony Prestedge - Group Development and Operations Director
  • Iain Laing - Chief Risk Officer
  • Graeme Hughes - Group Director (HR and Corporate Affairs)


  • In May 2010, Nationwide began to broadcast a series of advertisements featuring characters from British comedy Little Britain to promote the differences between Nationwide's mutual status and its shareholder rivals.
  • Nationwide's previous advertising campaign featured Mark Benton as a fictitious bank manager who was only interested in brand new customers, and not the existing ones.

Directors' Remuneration 2009/10

  • G J Beale £650,000 (+Bonus £231,000)
  • T P Prestedge £350,000 (+Bonus £224,000)
  • M M Rennison £440,000 (+Bonus £259,000)
  • C S Rhodes £350,000 (+Bonus £198,000)
  • D J Rigney £350,000 (+Bonus £136,000)
  • M P V Wyles £350,000 (+Bonus £199,000)


See also



  1. ^ KPMG Building Societies Database 2008, page 3.
  2. ^ About Nationwide - History. Nationwide Building Society. Retrieved 2009-02-15. 
  3. ^ Nationwide rescues small lenders BBC News, 8 September 2008
  4. ^ Nationwide, Derbyshire and Cheshire merger announcement Nationwide Building Society, 9 September 2008
  5. ^ Nationwide, Derbyshire and Cheshire merger announcement Derbyshire Building Society, 9 September 2008
  6. ^ Nationwide, Derbyshire and Cheshire merger announcement Cheshire Building Society, 9 September 2008
  7. ^ a b "Nationwide takes over Dunfermline". BBC. 2009-03-30. Retrieved 2009-04-04. 
  8. ^ UK financial firms downgraded by Moody's rating agency, BBC (October 7, 2011)
  9. ^
  10. ^ [1] Nationwide wins OFT test case
  11. ^ Foreign Transactions
  12. ^ World’s largest Building Society opens for business in Ireland
  13. ^ National press coverage of the 7 March 2009 protest
  14. ^ Local press coverage of the 7 March 2009 protest
  15. ^ Nationwide fine for stolen laptop BBC News, 14 February 2007
  16. ^ Lewis, Paul Nationwide customers pay £1m fine BBC News, 17 February 2007
  17. ^ O’Connell, Dominic and Ringshaw, Grant Regulator probes shock security lapse at Nationwide The Times, 12 November 2006
  18. ^ Nationwide statement on theft Nationwide Building Society, 14 February 2007
  19. ^ Business: The Company File Conversion rejected BBC News, 23 July 1998
  20. ^ McCue, Andy Nationwide ditches iris and fingerprint biometrics CNET Networks Inc. 23 September 2003
  21. ^ NATIONWIDE CELEBRATES TEN YEARS OF INTERNET BANKING Nationwide Building Society, 22 May 2007
  22. ^ Extract from Building Societies Yearbook 2009/10 (p.152) Building Societies Association (retrieved 17 November 2009)
  23. ^ The Times, Friday, 27 February 1970; pg. 21; Issue 57805; col E, display advertisement for Co-operative Permanent. Retrieved from InfoTrac on 25 June 2008.
  24. ^ "Summary Financial Statement: For the year ended 4 April 2010". p. 14. Retrieved 2011-01-11. 


  • Brick upon Brick: 50 years Co-operative Permanent Building Society by Albert Mansbridge. Contains black and white images of personnel, buildings, has a chronology, and includes a substantial appendix section and index. Total of 236 pages.

External links

Video clips

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