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Nationwide Building Society

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Nationwide Building Society
Company typeBuilding society, (mutual)
IndustryBanking and financial services
Founded1884; 140 years ago (1884)
HeadquartersSwindon, England
Number of locations
Key people
RevenueIncrease £3.86 billion (2022)
Increase £1.60 billion (2022)
Increase £1.25 billion (2022)
Total assetsIncrease £272 billion (2022)
Total equityIncrease £15.7 billion (2022)
Number of employees
  • Neutral decrease 17,686 (2022)
  • 18,644 (2021)
WebsiteOfficial website Edit this at Wikidata
Footnotes / references

Nationwide Building Society is a British mutual financial institution, the seventh largest cooperative financial institution[2] and the largest building society in the world with over 16 million members.[3] Its headquarters are in Swindon, England.

Nationwide is made up of around 250 different building societies. Among the most significant mergers were those with the Anglia Building Society in 1987 and the Portman Building Society in 2007. It is now the second largest provider of household savings and mortgages in the UK and has a 10.3% market share of current accounts for the 2021/2022 financial year.[1]: 15 

For the financial year 2021/2022, Nationwide had assets of around £272.4 billion[1]: 57  compared to £483 billion for the entire building society sector,[4] making it larger than the remaining 42 British building societies combined.

It is a member of the Building Societies Association, the Council of Mortgage Lenders and Co-operatives UK.[5]


The Society's origins lie in the Co-operative Permanent Building Society, founded in 1884. Based at New Oxford House, High Holborn, it changed its name in 1970 after deciding to leave the British Co-operative Union. The new name was put to a member vote, with members voting 135,675 to 15,585 in favour.[6]

In 1987, the Northampton-based Anglia Building Society merged with Nationwide. The new society was known as Nationwide Anglia Building Society at first, but the Anglia name was dropped in 1991.[7] In 1992, Nationwide moved its head office to Nationwide House, Pipers Way, Swindon. It had been operating a computer centre and administrative office in the town since 1974 and head office departments had been gradually migrating to Swindon.[citation needed]

Nationwide launched an early UK internet banking service on 27 May 1997.[8]

In 1999, Nationwide, together with various UK tabloid newspapers and media, launched a campaign against controversial cash machine fees.[citation needed] The campaign reached a peak when Barclays Bank announced 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.[citation needed] This prompted Nationwide to warn Barclays that it would take legal action against the bank if it did not back down. Nationwide claimed Barclays had broken the rules of the LINK network of cash machines, which the bank had joined earlier in the year.[citation needed] The following year, withdrawals from most cash machines owned by UK banks were made free for customers of all banks and building societies throughout the UK.[citation needed]

2000 – 2010[edit]

In 2007, Nationwide members voted at its Annual General Meeting to donate at least 1% of pre-tax profits to charitable activities each year. Nationwide completed a merger with Portman Building Society on 28 August 2007, creating a mutual body with assets of over £160 billion and around 13 million members. Portman's earliest component was the Provident Union Building Society founded in Ramsbury, Wiltshire in 1846.[9]

In the financial crisis of 2007–2008, the Nationwide acted to safeguard the mutual sector, acquiring the ailing Cheshire and Derbyshire building societies in September 2008,[10] followed by the Dunfermline Building Society on 30 March 2009.[11]

On 24 March 2009, Nationwide Building Society opened a direct savings branch in Dublin, Ireland called Nationwide UK (Ireland), to distinguish it from the unconnected and now-defunct Irish Nationwide Building Society.[12] It ceased all operations in the Irish Republic in 2017.

2010 – 2020[edit]

In 2012, the Society announced that it would integrate the Cheshire, Derbyshire and Dunfermline building Societies into Nationwide. The Societies had operated under their own brands as divisions of the Society. The rebranding of each business was phased, with the Dunfermline first to be merged in June 2014.[13][14] The Cheshire and Derbyshire followed in October and November 2014 respectively.

On 22 May 2015, it was announced that the Society's chief executive, Graham Beale, intended to retire. On 16 November 2015, Nationwide announced that Joe Garner, CEO of Openreach, would succeed Graham as Nationwide CEO in Spring 2016.[15] Joe Garner joined the Society as chief executive on 5 April 2016.

In May 2016, the Society confirmed that it would be closing its subsidiary on the Isle of Man, Nationwide International, following a review of its business.[16] The branch, based in Douglas, provided a range of offshore savings accounts in euros, pound sterling and US dollars. It held assets in excess of £2.76 billion as at 31 March 2008, increasing to £3.69 billion by 31 March 2009, making it one of the largest deposit takers in the Isle of Man. Nationwide confirmed it would close on 30 June 2017.[17]

On 1 October 2016, Carillion began providing services for Nationwide's headquarters in Swindon, 'specifically aligned to Nationwide's sustainability strategy'. This contract was expected to be worth approximately £350 million, building on an existing partnership of nearly nine years.[18] When Carillion went into liquidation in January 2018, Nationwide took on 297 staff previously employed by the contractor.[19][20]

In April 2017, the Society confirmed that it would be closing its subsidiary on the Republic of Ireland, Nationwide UK (Ireland), following a review of its business.[21] Its branch at 13 Merrion Row, Dublin 2 closed on 31 May 2017. The remainder of the business closed at the end of the year. Nationwide announced it would be building a new community at Oakfield in Swindon working in partnership with Swindon Borough Council. Planning permission for the 239 houses was granted in 2019. The homes will be EPC A rated and built on a not-for-profit model. In 2021 the development won the ‘Building for a Healthy Life’ prize as part of the Housing Design Awards.[22]

2020s rebrand and proposed acquisition of Virgin Money[edit]

In March 2022, Kevin Parry replaced David Roberts as chairman; and in June 2022, Debbie Crosbie, who had been CEO of TSB Bank, succeeded Joe Garner, as chief executive.[23]

In October 2023 Nationwide Building Society committed to its biggest rebrand since 1987, replacing its iconic ‘village icon’.[24] The move was part of a wider commitment to maintain a High Street presence as many banks continue to close branches.[25] The move will see all 605 branches receive investment to enable the building society to protect face-to-face customer interactions.[26][27]

On 7 March 2024 Nationwide announced that they had made an offer to buy Virgin Money UK plc for £2.9 billion.[28] Under the terms of the deal the resulting company would be rebranded under the Nationwide banner over the next 6 years with the Virgin Money brand eventually disappearing.[28] Nationwide intends to remain as a building society and for the "medium-term" the Virgin Money business would remain its own legal entity with its own banking licence.[28] Nationwide aims to not make any material changes to Virgin Money's 7,300 employees "in the near term".[28] Virgin Money currently issue Scottish bank notes under the Clydesdale branding.[29]

Virgin Money's shareholders approved the deal on 22 May and it is expected to complete by the end of the year.[30] On 31 May, the Competition and Markets Authority said that they would be investigating the proposed merger regarding the potential lessening of competition within the banking sector in the UK.[31]

Mutual status[edit]

Nationwide is committed to staying mutual and is keen to emphasise that it has members rather than shareholders.[citation needed] Its mutual status has been challenged.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

In 1998, society members seeking a windfall, branded as carpetbaggers by the UK media, meant Nationwide members had to vote on whether to demutualise the society and float on the London Stock Exchange. The attempt failed, despite media reports of possible pay-outs to members of around £1,000 to £1,500 each, as Nationwide members voted by a narrow margin of 33,700 against converting the building society into a bank.[32]

Society members again proposed a resolution in 2001 for another vote by Nationwide members to convert the society to a bank. The resolution was rejected by the Nationwide board on legal grounds.[33]


In the wake of the financial crisis of 2007–08, executive pay practices came under increasing scrutiny at Nationwide as in the rest of the financial sector. The Building Society Members' Association began to campaign against acceptance of remuneration reports at AGMs in 2009,[34] and with the CEO's compensation rising 45% to £2.25 million by 2012[35] the board's levels of pay attracted criticism in The Guardian,[36] and The Huffington Post.[37]

Nationwide has also had to pay out over £473 million of compensation to customers for the mis-selling of PPI.[38]

Nationwide had to scrap its intentions to pursue a digital business current account in April 2020, due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The society has said the pandemic has driven down the medium-term interest rates, which the society believes has made the project unviable.[39] Nationwide has committed to return the £50M grant from the Banking Competition Remedies scheme, which distributes funding that Royal Bank of Scotland was ordered to set aside as a condition of its 2009 bailout.[40] The project is estimated to have cost members £70 million, but Nationwide have said that all staff working on the project will be redeployed elsewhere.[41][42] It still provides some business savings accounts.[43]

When restrictions were lifted following the COVID-19 pandemic, Nationwide stated that its office-based staff could choose whether to work from home or return to the office.[44] In December 2023 the building society announced that employees would be required to come into the office for two days per week from April 2024.[45]

Products and services[edit]

A branch of Nationwide in Southampton

Nationwide Building Society provides financial services both directly, and through 686 branches (as of 2023). 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.

Financial performance[edit]

For the 2015/2016 Preliminary Results (April 2015–April 2016), underlying profits were up 9% to £1.337 billion, while statutory profits rose by 23% to £1.279 billion. Cost income ratio was 53.9%.[46] Common Equity Tier 1 and leverage ratios improved to 23.2% and 4.2%. Gross and net lending were at £32.6 billion and £9.1 billion respectively. Nationwide helped 57,200 people buy their first home. Member deposits increased by £6.3 billion.[47]

Credit rating[edit]

Nationwide's long-term credit rating, as of the second half of 2022, was A1 with Moody's, A+ with Standard & Poor's and A+ with Fitch Ratings.[48]


Nationwide owns several subsidiary companies,[49] including:

  • Nationwide International Limited – offshore deposit taker
  • Nationwide Syndications Limited – syndicated lending
  • The Mortgage Works (UK) plc – specialised mortgage lender
  • UCB Home Loans Corporation Limited – specialised mortgage lender
  • Derbyshire Home Loans Limited – specialised mortgage lender
  • E-MEX Home Funding Limited – specialised mortgage lender

Key people[edit]

  • Group Chairman: David Roberts (since July 2015)
  • Group Chief Executive: Debbie Crosbie (since June 2022)

List of chief executives[edit]

  1. Charles Cooper (1884–1892)
  2. Arthur Webb (1892–1939)
  3. Harry Score (1939–1947)
  4. Stanley Lindsey (1947–1951)
  5. Sir Herbert Ashworth (1951–1961)
  6. Joe Simpson (1961–1967)
  7. Leonard Williams (1967–1981)
  8. Cyril English (1981–1985)
  9. Sir Timothy Melville-Ross (1985–1994)
  10. Brian Davis (1994–2001)
  11. Philip Williamson (2002–2007)
  12. Graham Beale (2007–2016)
  13. Joe Garner (2016–2022)
  14. Debbie Crosbie (2022–)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Nationwide Building Society: Annual Report & Accounts 2022 (PDF) (Report). Nationwide. 19 May 2022.
  2. ^ Global300 Report 2010: The world's major co-operatives and mutual businesses (PDF) (Report). International Co-operative Alliance. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 August 2021. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  3. ^ Flinders, Karl (16 December 2021). "Nationwide Building Society moves website to Azure cloud". Computer Weekly.
  4. ^ "Building Societies Association Factsheet" (PDF). Building Societies Association. June 2022.
  5. ^ "Our History". Nationwide Building Society. Archived from the original on 22 January 2014. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  6. ^ "Nationwide Building Society Timeline 1970". Facebook. Archived from the original on 28 October 2013. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  7. ^ "NATIONWIDE BUILDING SOCIETY (formerly Nationwide Anglia Building Society)" (PDF). nationwide.co.uk. 1 December 1991. Retrieved 13 June 2024.
  8. ^ "Nationwide Celebrates Ten Years of Internet Banking". Nationwide Building Society. 22 May 2007. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  9. ^ Nationwide Building Society. "Nationwide Annual report and account 2007-8". Nationwide Building Society. Nationwide Building Society. pp. Page 28.
  10. ^ "Nationwide rescues small lenders". BBC News. 8 September 2008. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
  11. ^ "Nationwide takes over Dunfermline". BBC News. 30 March 2009. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
  12. ^ "World's largest Building Society opens for business in Ireland". Nationwide Building Society. 24 March 2009. Archived from the original on 28 April 2009. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
  13. ^ Nationwide Building Society (20 March 2014). "Regional Brands integration". Nationwide Building Society. Archived from the original on 16 November 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  14. ^ "Dunfermline to be merged with Nationwide". BBC News. 24 October 2013. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
  15. ^ "Nationwide Building Society appoints Joe Garner as Chief Executive" (Press release). 16 November 2015. Archived from the original on 8 May 2016.
  16. ^ "70 jobs at risk as building society closes". Manx Radio. 26 May 2016. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  17. ^ Matin, Moonira (17 January 2017). "Nationwide to close Isle of Man offshore expat unit". International Adviser. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  18. ^ "Carillion wins £350 million support services contract for Nationwide Building Society". Carillion PLC. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  19. ^ Rutter Pooley, Cat (18 January 2018). "Nationwide Building Society guarantees Carillion workers' jobs". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 10 December 2022. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  20. ^ "Annual report 2017/18". Nationwide.co.uk. 1 January 2021.
  21. ^ "Savers may suffer as Nationwide UK set to leave Irish market". Irish Times. 10 April 2017. Retrieved 29 April 2017.
  22. ^ "Nationwide's Oakfield development wins coveted housing award". Nationwidemediacentre.co.uk. 1 October 2021.
  23. ^ Venkataramakrishnan, Siddharth (3 December 2021). "Nationwide appoints TSB boss Debbie Crosbie as chief executive". The Financial Times. Archived from the original on 10 December 2022. Retrieved 8 June 2022.
  24. ^ Fowler, Ryan (8 October 2023). "Nationwide to undergo significant rebrand and invest in High Street branches". The Intermediary - Latest UK mortgage news. Retrieved 8 October 2023.
  25. ^ "Nationwide Building Society rebrands and commits to the high street". BBC News. 9 October 2023. Retrieved 24 December 2023.
  26. ^ "Nationwide renews promise to keep branches open until 2026". Nationwide Building Society Media Centre. Retrieved 24 December 2023.
  27. ^ "Branch Promise, a commitment to our members | Nationwide". www.nationwide.co.uk. Retrieved 24 December 2023.
  28. ^ a b c d "Nationwide strikes deal to buy Virgin Money for £2.9bn". BBC News. 7 March 2024. Retrieved 9 March 2024.
  29. ^ "Buying yon bonnie banks". BBC News. 21 March 2024. Retrieved 22 March 2024.
  30. ^ Makortoff, Kalyeena (22 May 2024). "Virgin Money shareholders vote for Nationwide takeover by big majority". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 May 2024.
  31. ^ "Nationwide-Virgin merger faces competition probe". BBC News. 31 May 2024. Retrieved 2 June 2024.
  32. ^ "Business: The Company File Conversion rejected". BBC News. 23 July 1998. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
  33. ^ Rupert Jones (21 April 2001). "Blow for carpetbaggers". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  34. ^ Alan Debenham. "Building Societies Members' Association - Nationwide Building Society". Archived from the original on 22 June 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  35. ^ Patrick Collinson (22 June 2012). "Nationwide scales up on executive pay". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  36. ^ Patrick Collinson (22 June 2012). "Nationwide scales up on executive pay". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  37. ^ Asa K Cusack (25 June 2013). "Nationwide Executive Pay Is a Disgrace to Mutualism: Fight Back at the AGM!". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  38. ^ Aikman, A (10 August 2019). "Nationwide to refund 320,000 customers after breaking overdraft rules". Which.co.uk. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  39. ^ "Chief Executives review". Nationwideannualreport.co.uk. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  40. ^ Walker, Peter (4 March 2020). "Nationwide returns £50m business bank grant". FStech. Retrieved 18 March 2024.
  41. ^ "Britain's Nationwide scraps business banking plans". Reuters. 3 April 2020. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  42. ^ Atkin, Joanne (3 April 2020). "Nationwide halts plans to enter the business banking market". Mortgage Finance Gazette. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  43. ^ "Nationwide Commercial". Nationwide Building Society. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  44. ^ Sweney, Mark (25 March 2021). "Nationwide office staff can work anywhere in UK when lockdown ends". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 6 December 2023.
  45. ^ Sweney, Mark (6 December 2023). "Nationwide rescinds 'work anywhere' policy and tells staff to come to office". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 6 December 2023.
  46. ^ Mark Rennison (23 May 2016). Preliminary Results for the year ended 4 April 2016 (PDF) (Report). Nationwide Building Society. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  47. ^ [1] [dead link]
  48. ^ "Investor Relations - Nationwide". Nationwide.co.uk. Retrieved 16 February 2023.
  49. ^ "All About Nationwide Membership". Nationwide Building Society. Archived from the original on 31 August 2006. Retrieved 16 November 2015.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]