Member vulnerability, access and inclusion
Our ethic of care shapes everything we do, from our branches to our corporate governance, from product design to marketing.
This area of our website offers information about some of the things we do as a responsible business. If you need more practical support, please see our dedicated support services for challenging times.
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Vulnerability, access and inclusion team
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) requires all financial service organisations to recognise and understand the impact that health, life events, financial resilience and financial capability may have on people’s financial needs and to run their business in a way that ensures these customers do not receive worse outcomes than ‘average’ customers.
At Nationwide, we recognise that any of these things could happen to any of our members at any time – something that the coronavirus pandemic brought sharply into focus. We are committed to ensuring that our members feel supported through challenging times over a lifetime of membership.
Our dedicated vulnerability, access and inclusion team shapes and steers the Society’s vision and strategic agenda on vulnerability. But all our colleagues, both member-facing and in head office, know that if their role ultimately impacts the member, it’s their responsibility to ensure that what they do works for the full range of needs that may be present in their member base.
A network of champions from all areas of the business are working to achieve alignment to the FCA’s vulnerability guidance and ensuring that consideration of vulnerability, access and inclusion is embedded throughout our business. Our approach follows that of the FCA, looking across the whole of the product life cycle.
Training our staff on vulnerability
Supporting those in vulnerable circumstances begins with supporting our staff to equip them with the skills and training they need. All our colleagues have had e-learning on what vulnerability is and what the expectations on our business are in relation to it.
Additionally, in 2020, all member-facing colleagues completed in-depth e-learning, supported by team activities to consolidate learning, on how to identify potential vulnerability, discuss it sensitively with the member and identify ways they can help meet those different or additional needs that they uncover.
Responsible product and service design
Our propositions are designed around our members’ needs, both now and in the future. We apply our core values when designing our services and propositions:
- long-term value
- convenience and care
- recognising loyalty
- building trust.
This enables us to design propositions which are based on principles of mutual benefit and mutual good. We want our products and services to do more than give our members fair outcomes – we want to be sure they are built to last.
Our Conduct and Operational Risk Committee provides senior oversight of our Initiative Development Framework, which governs the design of all our propositions. We have policies and clear guidance on changing and withdrawing products and services, and we always carefully consider the possible outcomes for members.
To ensure we’re always delivering high quality compliant products and services, we proactively contact a sample of members by telephone to check whether they understood a product and it was suitable for them. These confirm whether the products or services members signed up for are suitable and understood. We undertake regular ‘deep dive’ activities along member journeys, including ‘mystery shops’, to ensure they’re well designed and operating effectively. And we assess the performance of our employees in their interactions with our members.
These activities help to hold us to account for the standards we’ve committed to and ensure we’re demonstrating our PRIDE values. We don’t allow local sales incentive schemes, and we regularly assess performance to ensure we’re not operating detrimental sales or reward practices.
We want to ensure our members can make informed choices about their finances. So, we aim to provide balanced information about the risks, benefits and pricing of our products and services – consistently, clearly and without jargon.
To assure this, the creation, approval and distribution of member communications is governed by the Brand Member and Colleague Communications policy. Our Chief Product and Marketing Officer is accountable for producing, controlling and distributing marketing materials and communications and works across the Society.