About Living on your side

Nationwide is a mutual, which means we are owned by our members.  With 160 years’ experience meeting our members’ needs and as the world’s largest building society, we are unique.

Our vision is to be the first choice for financial services in the UK and one of the leading responsible companies in the UK. Doing what is right by our members and the communities in which they live goes to the heart of what it means to be a mutual.

In 2012, we launched Living on your side, a five year citizenship strategy which brings to life our brand promise to be on the side of our members. With it came the aspiration to take our citizenship to the next level and in doing so make a lasting difference to UK society.

For us, citizenship is about how we can use our products, services, campaigning and community investment collectively to deliver a greater social impact. It's also our ability to mobilise our customers, employees and wider stakeholders to work together to achieve our social aims.

  Nationwide Strategy House Oct 2012.jpg

Our Living on your side strategy sets out three ambitious targets to be delivered by 2017:

  • Your Home: help 750,000 people into a home of their own
  • Your Money: empower one million people to start saving
  • Your Community: invest and unlock £15 million into local communities, as directed by our customers and employees

In addition to our three targets, Living on your side is about how we stay true to our mutual values and run our business in a responsible and ethical way. This means treating our customers fairly and making our products and services inclusive. It’s about having an ethical and sustainable supply chain. It's about the way we support our employees and champion diversity in the workplace. And its about what we’re doing minimise the impact we have on the environment through our operations. We drive forward this responsible and ethical approach through the Your Society  element of our strategy.

Graham Beale, Chief Executive - Doing the right thing

"Over the past year we have seen citizenship at Nationwide grow in strength and scope. Citizenship has always been at the heart of our mutuality but now with a new strategy and increased focus, we are really starting to live and breathe it across our business; it is all about doing the right thing."

"When we launched Living on your side last year, we wanted to make sure that the strategy was closely aligned with our wider corporate goals. Our members and employees confirmed this approach when they told us to focus on areas where we could offer the most expertise and have the most influence and impact. It is our belief that citizenship should be an integral part of our daily business and a sustainable commitment to our employees, members and wider society.

Living On Your Side clearly reflects the core focus of our business; mortgages, savings and serving our members. So in achieving our citizenship targets; to help 750,000 people into a home of their own, empowering one million people to start saving and investing and unlocking £15 million in to local communities, we will also achieve a positive impact in the areas where we operate.

Underpinning these activities is our continued commitment to run our business in an ethical and responsible way. After the many damaging headlines over the past few years, the financial services sector as a whole is now very focused on improving its reputation for responsible business. At Nationwide we are proud to have maintained our ethical approach throughout and recognise that we have a part to play, as a leader and sharer of best practice, in shaping a new financial services sector focused on transparency, honesty and long term benefits.

Our progress against these targets this year has been very strong, particularly given the challenging economic landscape.

Economic conditions remain a significant factor affecting the housing market and housing supply remains a key challenge. Nationwide has played a major role in the UK housing market, with a particular emphasis on mortgages to first time buyers. During the past year we have provided over 42,000 first time buyer mortgages. This equates to providing almost one in five of all first time buyer mortgages over the past 12 months.

Saving from an early age continues to be at the heart of our citizenship approach and we remain committed to encouraging a savings culture and supporting financial capability. Through our new partnership with National Numeracy we are looking to improve numeracy skills in the UK, the lack of which can be a barrier to good money management. Last year we also provided evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Capability and are pleased that this contributed towards the Government’s announcement of a consultation on the inclusion of financial education in the National Curriculum.

It is great to see how Living on your side is being met with such enthusiasm and support. In a single year, 1.3 million of our members got actively involved with the agenda and our employee involvement jumped from 6% to 30%. Achieving Platinum status and Highest New Entrant in the Business in the Community Corporate Responsibility Index was also pleasing recognition of the progress we have made. Whilst there is so much more for us to do, we can be confident in the strong foundations we have put in place as a sector leader in corporate citizenship and I look forward to building upon these over the coming years."

Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Cooperatives UK, talks citizenship at Nationwide

"No-one does ethics and responsibility quite like Nationwide."

There is something about the idea of corporate citizenship which encourages all too many companies to make wild claims, to present themselves as community saviours or to jump on bandwagons for saving the world, only to jump off a week later.

This is not the Nationwide way, evidently. Instead, what we see is patience, focus and ambition with a set of objectives that are clearly widely supported and admired within the building society itself.

As a mutual enterprise, the idea of doing better together seems written into its DNA. Citizenship? No hype, no fuss, just transacting business with responsibility considered at every step. I have no doubt that Nationwide will achieve what it sets out to do, in these three key areas of life today in Britain and that business more widely can learn from its example.” 

Ed Mayo is the Secretary General of Cooperatives UK

What are we doing differently?

It’s more than just moving beyond business as usual, it’s actually redefining what our ‘business as usual’ looks like; integrating and hardwiring citizenship into all of our decisions, all of our employees’ thinking and into all of our business practices. 

Engaging and supporting our members to become involved is important too. In fact, working with our members to make a difference to UK society is not something new. Since 2007 we have been donating at least 1% of our pre tax profits to charities and good causes, following a member mandate at our AGM that year where 97% of those who responded voted in favour. 

It's therefore important that our Citizenship activities make sense for the people and communities we support as well as good business sense.

For Your Home, our goals are aligned with our mortgage business; we are supporting first time buyers, affordable housing and landlords in the private rental market, and we are also helping homeless people and those at risk of losing their homes through partnerships with organisations like Shelter.

As part of Your Money, our goals are aligned with our savings business; we are helping people to start saving as well as helping people out of debt and supporting people to improve their financial capability, working with partners like National Numeracy to improve numeracy skills which are often a barrier to good money management.

In Your Community, our goals are aligned with our brand and customer strategy to build deeper and more rewarding relationships with our members. Asking them and our employees to direct our community investment is one way we can increase our engagement with them. We want our members to feel that we are their Society and that there are meaningful ways in which they can get involved and influence what we are doing to support their communities.

Reporting parameters

The content of the Living on your side webpages reflect activity in the April 2012/13 financial year which is in line with Nationwide’s financial year.  Additional qualitative information about more recent activities is also included and will be updated during the year.​

This year we provided an interim report when we launched Living on your side in November 2012, and have subsequently provided updates on our website quarterly as well as kept members aware of our various activities through new articles on Your Nationwide.  We will continue to do this into 2013/14.

The content reported on within this Citizenship report is directly linked to our five year citizenship strategy and the targets we set ourselves in 2012.  Prior to the launch of Living on your side, we conducted extensive research with our key stakeholders to establish what our citizenship activities should focus on. They told us we should focus on areas where we can offer real expertise and have the greatest impact, particularly helping people with housing related issues, money management and financial capability and supporting local communities.

As a direct result Living on your side was launched with the aim of addressing these issues through three core pillars; Your Home, Your Money and Your Community.  It is underpinned by Your Society, which outlines our commitment to operate as a responsible business in terms of our business practices, our people and our impact on the environment.

The information reported is based on ongoing feedback we receive from internal and external stakeholders, the primary users of our report. It is guided by London Benchmarking Group guidelines, Business in the Community public disclosure requirements and this year we are, for the first time, Global Reporting Initiative guidelines. The key performance indicators we report on are those most relevant to the nature of our business and identified risks and opportunities.

The Global Reporting Initiative provides a framework for companies to measure and report their sustainability performance. www.globalreporting.org. For 2012/13, we have self-declared a grade B against the GRI G3.1 Guidelines; details of which can we found on our GRI Index Table.

We aim to make our Citizenship reporting as open and transparent as possible and will, over the course of the strategy, strive to continuously improve our reporting, making it more robust and informative, improving our metrics and goal setting. You can find a summary of how we are getting on against our goals in the targets and our performance sections of this report.

This year, we have taken the step to externally verify our 'Your Community' data with Corporate Citizenship, the Corporate Responsibility Consultancy. In future years we intend to obtain external assurance on the report as a whole.

All queries relating to this report should be directed to Citizenship@nationwide.co.uk

About Nationwide

Having looked after the interests of our members for over 160 years, today we are the largest building society in the world. 


Nationwide is a mutual, this means we are owned by and run for the benefit of our members. A member is a customer who has either a current account, savings account or a mortgage with us (for more details on the definition of a member follow this link). 

Having looked after the interests of our members for over 160 years, today we are the largest building society in the world. We are the UK’s second largest savings provider offering market leading savings products, with industry leading standards of transparency communicated through our Savings Promises.

We are the third largest mortgage lender in the past year we have provided more than 42,000 first time buyer mortgages (that’s the equivalent to one every three minutes*). Our portfolio of products and services also includes private current accounts, annuities, investments, loans, credit cards, insurance and financial planning advice.

Nationwide Group has over 15 million customers, 15,000 employees and over 700 branches and sites in the UK. The Nationwide Foundation, an independent charity solely funded by Nationwide, was founded in 1997 and has distributed almost £29 million to charitable causes.

* based on an average working day of seven hours and a five day working week


Get Involved

​Nominate a local project you would like Nationwide to support, or if you are a charity you can request funding or volunteers

Click here to nominate

Global Reporting Initiative

Big Local

​Vote on one of three local charities and help your favourite win £5,000

Vote here

Citizenship Film 2013

Citizenship Report 2013

A summary version of the Citizenship Report 2013 in PDF​

Download the report

Targets for year 2 (Q3 2013/14)

Overview of progress against our three Living on your side goals.

Your Home

Number of people into a home of their own

  • Actual
  • Target
  • 240k
  • 180k
  • 120k
  • 60k
  • 0k

We want to help 750,000 people into a home of their own

Discover more

Your Money

Number of people started saving

  • Actual
  • Target
  • 240k
  • 180k
  • 120k
  • 60k
  • 0k

We want to empower one million people to start saving

Discover more

Your Community

Amount invested and unlocked in local communities

  • Actual
  • Target
  • £4.0m
  • £3.0m
  • £2.0m
  • £1.0m
  • £0.0m

We want to invest and unlock £15 million in local communities

Discover more

Living on your side map

Search for projects we support in your local community and see the range of activities we are involved in across the UK

View map