Nationwide, the largest building society in the world, is a mutual, owned and run for the benefit of its members. Acting responsibly and doing the right things for their members is Nationwide’s core business purpose, so while the financial services sector has been under the spotlight, it has been a standard-bearer for responsible business.
Three tips from Nationwide
- “Integration - negotiate thorough integration and gain buy-in throughout the business.”
- “Relevance - make your strategy is relevant to your organisation, your employees and your customers – it must be a part of what you do as a business, it will then take on a life of its own.”
- “Communication - internal and external stakeholders need to hear about your agenda, so they can engage and be your advocates.”
We have summarised some of the key points below, but to get a true idea of the breadth and detail of Nationwide's responsible business practice, reading the full Awards entry is advised.
Nationwide’s five-year citizenship strategy, Living on your side, aims to address some of the pressing social challenges that most matter to its members, and to help Nationwide become first choice for financial services in the UK. It focuses on four main areas:
Your Home - linked to Nationwides's mortgage activity and focusing. Nationwide's target is to help 750,000 people into a home of their own by 2017. Example activities include a 15-year relationship with Shelter.
Your Money - linked to Nationwide’s savings activity, this strand addresses issues with money-management, debt and financial education with a target of helping one million people to start saving by 2017. Example activities include improving numeracy skills via its Talking Numbers programme and working with National Numeracy.
Your Community - About the communities local to Nationwide, engaging 17,000 employees and their 15 million members. Nationwide's target is to strengthen local communities by investing/unlocking £15 million by 2017. Example activities include helping 1,020 charities in 2013/14.
Your Society - Nationwide’s target is to stay true to its mutual values and run its business in an ethical and responsible way. Example activities include being awarded the Carbon Trust Triple standard after reducing carbon emissions, waste, and water consumption.
Citizenship is an important part of the culture at Nationwide, with 65% of employees logging citizenship involvement in 2014/15 and 94% responding that “Nationwide makes a positive impact on local communities”. This has had a positive impact on business performance and brand reputation. In 2014, Nationwide maintained its position of being number one for service with a lead of 4.2% (GfK NOP’s Financial Research Survey) and they were also rated the most trusted financial brand in 2014 in YouGov Brand Index.
The company works hard to challenge sector issues faced by the public. Working with key stakeholders, it identifes how they can help improve lives through charitable partnerships and consumer campaigns. These include ISA reform, the Living Wage and Stamp Duty reform.
30% of the pay review of Graham Beale, Nationwide's CEO, is based on Citizenship activity. Citizenship is also integrated into the company's proven training programmes, such as the Next Generation Leadership Programme and Senior Executive Development Programme, ensuring the next generation embody Nationwide's values.
Nationwide believes that transparency in reporting is a fundamental part of responsible business and is guided in its reporting by the Global Reporting Initiative and the BITC CR Index. Due to participation in the Index, Nationwide has expanded on the data it discloses, for example, around tax transparency and diversity and inclusion data.
What Nationwide's CEO says:
‘Being responsible and doing what is right by our members goes to the heart of the mutual business model. I am proud to lead Nationwide on its path to become the number one choice for financial services. Since 2008, our sector has been under the spotlight and Nationwide has shown that success comes through acting responsibly and focusing on long-term sustainability. Our Citizenship strategy, ‘Living on your side’, is a clear demonstration of our mutual philosophy and culture. I strongly believe that as a major organisation we have a responsibility to tackle the pressing issues that are faced by society.’ Graham Beale, CEO