27 March 2017

We were founded by our members

Nationwide Building Society was founded by our first members over 130 years ago, and there's no arguing that times were different then. And similar. 

In those days, working people had a hard time finding credit and affordable long-term housing, while plenty of banks were ready to serve the wealthy. The solution? A mutual society to help people save and borrow money for a home of their own. The need was there, so people came together and created what became Nationwide to answer it. 

Today we're still committed to doing right by our members and remaining true to our heritage as a stable, dependable community in a changing world. A lot has changed since the 19th century, but our mutual foundation is unshaken.

Founded by members for the benefit of members

We're a building society, not a bank. A building society is a financial institution owned by its members; a mutual organisation for banking services like savings and mortgage lending.

We seek to optimise profit not maximise it. That means we're not looking to make large profits at the expense of our members.

Our members still have a say in how we're run

It was our members who suggested we exist. That was a good idea, so we've been listening to members' suggestions ever since, acting on feedback again and again about our products, services and online presence.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Our members asked us to raise the amount of money that you can take out daily at the cash machine, so we raised it to £500 a day in 2013

  • Our members asked for an account specially created for young people, so we introduced FlexOne in 2014, for people aged 11-17

  • Our members asked us to provide mobile banking, so we created the Banking App.

You can read about more of the changes our members suggested here

Members vote in our annual general meeting on key decisions about how we operate as a business and who to elect as Nationwide directors. And we hold regular TalkBack sessions where members can talk to them directly. Many improvements to our products and services have come about thanks to comments from our members at these meetings.

And while the past few years have seen branch closures by many banks, we're committed to keeping branches open – because they're so valued by members.

Home is where the heart is

We were founded to help people find homes. It's even in our constitution: "The Society's principal purpose is making loans which are secured on residential property and funded substantially by its members." Today, much of what we do at Nationwide is still about helping people buy homes of their own, and it always will be.

We won't stop caring about our members

Today we're incredibly proud to be the world's largest building society, the UK's second largest mortgage provider, and one of the UK's largest savings providers. And we're still run completely for the benefit of our 14 million members.

We are committed to our members because we are our members. We were founded by them, and all these years later, our members still have a say in how we're run. And that won't change.

The content displayed on our recent news and articles page is for information purposes only, and is accurate at the time of publication. The information will not be maintained, and so we cannot guarantee that at any given time the information will be up to date or complete. Please verify any information you take before relying on it.

Nationwide is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites. Nationwide does not make any recommendation or endorse any advertising, products, services or other content on such external websites. Views expressed on third party websites are those of the public and unless specifically stated, are not those of Nationwide.

Most popular

The Budget 2017

09.03.17

Chancellor Philip Hammond presented his first – and last – Spring Budget to Parliament yesterday. Here’s your easy guide to the changes.

ISA 2017: Your guide to ISAs

10.03.17

From 6th April, you'll be able to save more in ISAs without paying tax on the interest, earn new bonuses for a home or retirement, and lots more.

You may also be interested in...

Our helpful guides

We've created a range of helpful guides to help you make better financial decisions regardless of your circumstances. Find out more about owning property, growing wealth and planning for life events.

Our products

Whether you are after a current account, a savings account or even looking for a mortgage, Nationwide has a range of great products that could help you, no matter the situation.