Championing member needs
We champion the needs of our members and their communities with a range of policymakers across the political spectrum.
This area of our website offers information about some of the things we do as a responsible business. Find out more about what makes us different.
What's on this page
How we engage politically to champion members’ needs
Nationwide makes representations to Government and politicians directly to champion the interests of our members and the Society. We’re also engaged through our trade association memberships, including UK Finance and the Building Societies Association.
Campaigning for our Mutual Good Commitments
Nationwide’s campaigning focus is aligned with our mutual good commitments and making a difference on issues that matter to our members like:
- decent homes for all
- making homes greener
- financial wellbeing
- health of local communities, and
- supporting diversity and difference.
1. Decent homes for all
With our long-standing partner Shelter, and others, we successfully pushed for reform to the private rented sector.
We’ve successfully campaigned:
- For the abolition of Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions
This reform will ensure that renters are protected against eviction unless the landlord has a legitimate reason to do so.
- To abolish the practice of refusing to let to potential tenants in receipt of housing benefits
Otherwise known as ‘no DSS’ restrictions.
Mortgage and rental holidays
Nationwide was one of the first lenders to offer mortgage holidays during the pandemic. The Government noted that our response was ‘market-leading’.
Mortgage holidays were just one part of our broader Home Support Package. We made pledges offering flexibility and home security to both owner-occupiers and buy-to-let mortgage holders. This was with a view to enabling rent holidays for tenants, where necessary.
We're engaging with policymakers on issues regarding planning and housing quality.
Nationwide has sponsored a not-for-profit development project, Oakfield housing development. We want Oakfield to mark the start of a new movement in house building. To share our innovative, community-focused planning model, we've:
- held public-facing events
- had discussions with MPs
- contributed to policy-development work.
Our policy development work included a white paper submission, drawing on learnings from Oakfield to share:
- how proper community engagement and consultation can support faster delivery of homes
- how high standards of design and sustainability can reduce bills and create jobs.
2. Making homes greener
We believe that lenders must lead the way in showing how environmental sustainability begins at home – quite literally.
We are working with Government to help develop policy on green homes including how the private rented sector can be made more efficient and the role mortgage lenders can play in driving energy efficiency.
Our Chief Strategy and Sustainability Officer, Claire Tracey, gave evidence to the Environmental Audit Select Committee, following a successful submission regarding the energy efficiency of existing homes. Our CEO, Joe Garner, spoke at the global Green Horizon Summit (opens in a new window) attended by over 100 global businesses and 'climate leaders'. He spoke about the role of finance in the green transition needed to lower carbon emissions.
Private rental sector
To draw from the widest range of expertise, we continue to engage with others in the private sector. We are in the process of developing further policy proposals in this space including:
- reform of the tax system,
- encouraging regulatory improvement, and
- improving the measurement of energy efficiency in homes.
Nationwide is an active contributor to a number of industry initiatives including:
- working with the Green Finance Institute on retrofitting
- PCAF on developing the framework for carbon accounting of emissions from homes
- the Grantham Institute’s Alliance for a Just Transition, focusing on how greening the UK’s housing stock can be done in an equitable way, and
- UK Green Buildings Council to share innovation and drive down carbon emissions from UK homes.
3. Financial wellbeing
We’re working with others to improve the financial wellbeing of our members.
Financial Capability and Inclusion group
As a member of the Government’s Inclusive Economy Partnership (IEP), we co-chair its ‘Financial Capability and Inclusion group’. The group brings together business, government and civil society to support the financially under-served with:
- access to affordable credit
- the tools and capabilities to interact with fair financial products
- the capability to solve the issue of problem and persistent debt.
It was through this association we also delivered the Open Banking for Good programme (opens in a new window) to the financially squeezed and struggling. This in turn inspired our new Nationwide Incubator, which brings together start-ups and charities to tackle the poverty premium.
This year we also partnered with the IEP to develop a voluntary code of best practice in the recovery of debt, which we hope will encourage better and more consistent practices across industry sectors.
Improving member communications
We supported the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute (opens in a new window) campaign to update the required language in default notice letters that lenders must send to those with problem debt. Through this work we have been able to create more supportive communications, using accessible, simpler language.
4. Health of local communities
Nationwide is proud to chair Swindon’s Town Deal board. We supported our home town in its successful bid of up to £19.5 million for Government investment, to transform the town and drive economic growth.
High street recovery
Nationwide also partnered with think tank Centre for Cities on its High Streets Recovery work. The work has helped provide key insights into how high streets and town centres across the country have been impacted by the pandemic.
Our Community Grants programme (opens in a new window) offers a chance for local organisations with great housing solutions to apply for grants of up to £50,000.
The Community Boards have distributed £10m of charitable funding to local charities working on projects and initiatives tackling the housing crisis. During the first lockdown, we took the decision to ‘unsecure’ the funding granted – so that community groups and organisers could spend it as they saw fit during the pandemic.
5. Supporting diversity and difference
Our colleagues working in branch were rightly classed as key workers during the pandemic. Keeping branches open was the right thing to do for our members. Colleagues worked incredibly hard to ensure that members could still access their money during the lockdown. However, unfortunately we saw a rise in abusive behaviour - such as spitting, swearing, and even physical assaults - during this time.
Campaigning to change the law
In addition to improved security and reporting measures, we launched the #TogetherAgainstHate campaign. Teaming up with other major employers – including the Co-op and National Rail – we called for the Prime Minister to support the 'Assaults Against Retail Workers (Offences) Bill'.
This Bill would change the law so that if a retail worker was assaulted in their place of work, the fact that it took place at work would be considered an aggravating factor. We've also made a submission to the Sentencing Council on the importance of changing sentencing guidelines in accordance with the Bill’s proposals.
We met with a number of MPs – including the Bill’s sponsor – urging the MPs to support it. And to ensure that branch bank staff are adequately represented in the Bill’s drafting.
Raising awareness for #TogetherAgainstHate
It was important to raise public awareness of this growing issue. So we partnered with other employers and Channel 4 to create an impactful prime-time TV advert. This showed the emotional impact that abuse and hostility has on colleagues.
Supporting colleagues to take up public duties
We encourage our colleagues to get involved with public duties in the community. This includes giving people time off to:
- be an elected member of a local authority
- perform duties for a political party
- take roles such as a justice of the peace
- be a member of a statutory tribunal
- be a prison visitor
- be a member of an education or health body.