How we engage politically to champion customers’ needs

We engage effectively with regulators and policy makers throughout the year to influence them on behalf of the Society and its customers. We also engage through our trade association memberships, including UK Finance and the Building Societies Association (BSA).

Driving positive change in UK housing

We seek to use our scale and influence to drive positive change across the UK housing market. During the year, we engaged with regulators and policy makers on a range of housing issues and discussions, from mortgage lending, to planning reform, to support for mortgage holders and first time buyers.

In 2023, Nationwide signed up to the Government’s Mortgage Charter – a set of industry-wide commitments seeking to give more options and support to people struggling with mortgage payments. We continue to call on the Government for more support for first time buyers, including through increasing the supply of new homes, changes to restrictions around high loan-to-income lending, and extending the help to buy scheme. Our own Helping Hand mortgage has helped to support affordability for first time buyers, enabling them to borrow more (up to 5.5 times their salary) on 5 and 10- year fixed rate mortgages. It extends to 95% loan to value, reducing the pressure on first time buyers of saving for a larger deposit.

We also continue to be a force for positive change in the private rented sector and lobby for better outcomes for both landlords and tenants. Together with our long-standing partner Shelter, we have successfully pushed for reform to the private rented sector and are pleased to see many of the policy proposals we have supported included in the legislative text of the Renters (Reform) Bill, published by the Government in May 2023. This has included campaigning for the abolition of Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions, ensuring renters are protected against eviction unless the landlord has a legitimate reason for doing so. We will continue to work with policymakers, through the Renters (Reform) Bill, on the design and implementation of a property portal landlord database, which will provide improved transparency and information to tenants before they rent a property, and guidance to landlords on their responsibilities.

Nationwide has also campaigned for the Government to make it illegal for landlords to apply blanket bans on renting to people on housing benefit, on the grounds of it being discriminatory, so that so-called ‘no DSS’ policies are no longer acceptable. In addition, we responded to the Government’s consultation on the Decent Homes Standard, which we hope will be implemented through the Renters (Reform) Bill. These changes could make a significant improvement to the rental experiences of millions of people in the UK. Through our Mutual Good Commitments, we ensure that the buy to let properties we lend on are compliant with, or exceed, the Decent Home Standard recommendations, so that tenants can live in safe and secure homes.

We also work closely with the Nationwide Foundation to support renters. More information can be found on pages 27-28 of our Social investment impact report 2023.

Social housing is important for many, often offering an affordable, secure, longer-term tenancy. We are proud to have been lending to the social housing sector for over 60 years. We maintain regular dialogue with the Social Housing Regulator and other key sector stakeholders to contribute on social housing issues and policy, including through the UK Finance Social Housing Panel.

We have partnered with the national housing charity, Shelter, for the past 22 years. Our donation helps to fund several advisers for Shelter’s helplines and, last year, directly enabled the charity to answer over 6,400 calls from people in urgent housing need. This alone prevented 1,000 people from losing their home and helped 1,600 into a home. Through our partnership with Shelter, we have funded a Policy Officer, helping us to work together on policy and campaigns that make a difference to people in housing need. This includes the Social Housing Regulation Bill, where Shelter is ensuring the Bill is amended to secure key improvements for social tenants. More information can be found on pages 12-13 of our Social investment impact report 2023.

Supporting progress towards a greener society

At a global level, we have continued to build links through the Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA) and Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), contributing to reports on transition planning and public policy frameworks. Nationwide’s work on green homes was included as a case study in the GFANZ Recommendations and Guidance on Financial Institution Net-zero Transition Plans. Nationwide is a participant in the GFANZ Policy Call to Action and implementation workstreams.

Our Green Homes Action Group, formed in 2021 of 15 cross-sector leaders with a shared interest in promoting high-quality, affordable retrofit, meets approximately every six months to address some of the barriers to greener homes. The group have called for the Government to do more through seven policy asks that encourage a more comprehensive National Retrofit Strategy, which includes making it fairly financed. Nationwide will continue to engage and influence policymakers to encourage the development of green policies that support wider society, in making the changes needed to achieve a just transition to net-zero.

Championing thriving communities through our social investment programmes

As voted for by our members in 2007, we commit at least 1% of our pre-tax profits each year to charitable activities1, largely focused on housing. The money is split between our own social investment programmes, including funding our long-term partnership with Shelter, the Nationwide Foundation and the internal costs of managing our social investment agenda.

Within our social investment programmes, we provide grants to local housing charities and projects across the UK through our Community Grants programme. The grants are distributed through our Community Boards under the direction of customer and colleague volunteers.

In 2022/23, we met our five-year target to donate £22 million in community grants, that we set when the Community Boards were founded. Over 540 projects have benefited and 118,000 people in housing need were supported.

More on the impact of our social investment programmes, including on our Community Grants and Colleague Grants, can be found on pages 7-11 of our Social investment impact report 2023.

1 The 1% is calculated based on average pre-tax profits over the previous three years.

Last updated: November 2023