Nationwide is the world’s largest building society, with over 15 million customers, 17,000 employees and 700 branches in the UK. The company believes that by focusing on doing the right thing for customers and operating with fairness, honesty and transparency, a business can succeed.
Three tips from Nationwide
- Lead by example and take a stand for your sector
- Focus on doing the right thing for your customers and operate with fairness, honesty and transparency
- Ensure responsibility is hard wired into your strategy and embedded in your culture
Supporting vulnerable customers
In partnership with Macmillan Nationwide deliver a Specialist Support Service for customers affected by cancer. Since September 2015 650 Nationwide customers have been supported by the service and more than 150 have been referred back to Macmillan, leading to more than £85,000 worth of additional benefits and grants.
Nationwide is now extending the service to other vulnerable customers, including those with heart disease and mental incapacity.
Overall 64% of Nationwide employees are involved in volunteering, fundraising, green actions or payroll giving (6% in 2012). In the company's latest employee survey, 93% of employees felt that Nationwide makes a positive impact on local communities.
Supporting the military community
Nationwide supports the military community in tackling commercial disadvantage, for example through the creation of specific mortgage offerings that can switch between residential and letting when military personnel are posted, developing an Armed Forces Housing Guide, delivering master classes on military bases, and recruiting former Armed Forces personnel.
Tackling low levels of numeracy is an issue for Nationwide as a financial services provider. The company runs an education programme, Talking Numbers, which reached 83,000 young people in the last financial year.
Creating woodlands for future generations
Concerned about the credibility and accessibility of many offsetting programmes, Nationwide’s Board pledged in 2014 to plant a tree in the UK for every current and future employee, enabling the Society to reduce its impact on the environment and provide long-lasting community benefit. Supplemented by members opting to go paperless, the company has pledged to plant 60,000 trees in total. The Society is also partnering with the Woodland Trust to enable local groups to adopt local woodlands for community use.
Nationwide has demonstrated that by taking a responsible business approach it is possible to have a positive impact on business performance, brand reputation and help to return trust to the financial services sector.
What Nationwide Building Society's Chief Executive said:
“We take our broader responsibility to society seriously and set ourselves some ambitious targets in 2012 when we launched our ‘Living on your side’ five year citizenship strategy. I am delighted that we are more than delivering against them and making a real difference to local communities. Amongst our many achievements, I am particularly proud of scoring 99% in the 2015 BITC Corporate Responsibility Index. We have also taken the sector lead in such things as supporting vulnerable customers, military families and education.” - Graham Beale, Chief Executive