Ethical Business

Grandfather and grandson lying on grass

This is about doing the right thing in relation to the way we look after our customers and manage our suppliers, including:

Responsible lending

Our mutual purpose is to safeguard our members' financial interests, helping them to save, to buy their own homes and to make the most of their money.  We also aim to achieve the highest standards of business responsibility.

As a mutual we've always been sensitive to payment difficulties:

  • we try our best to ensure that we only lend what a customer can afford to repay

  • we take into account our customers' stated income and any other declared financial commitments that they have

  • if life doesn't go to plan we work with our customers to find a way forward that they can afford.

  • we offer various options to people struggling with their credit card, mortgage, overdraft or loan repayments, developing payment solutions based on an individual's circumstances and what they can afford.


Customer satisfaction

Every month an independent research company (Nunwood Research) contacts around 10,000 customers by telephone to ask them about the quality of service they receive from our branch and telephone staff. We also ask 5,000 users of our Internet Bank and website to rate service quality via an online survey. The results from our Customer Service Tracker are published on our website.

The complaints we do receive we take very seriously, and we've developed CareSmart, our complaint management system, to make sure these are investigated and responded to within prescribed timescales.  Our aim is to resolve the majority of our complaints within 48 hours, but sometimes more complex issues can take longer.  If we're unable to resolve complaints within five working days, we'll let the customer know and keep them regularly informed of progress.​

Being inclusive

We offer a broad range of products and services to suit the varying needs of our members, including:

  • a basic bank account (FlexBasic) that's most appropriate for customers receiving state benefits or a pension as their main source of income

  • many of our savings accounts can be opened with as little as £1

  • we provide a range of facilities for those with disabilities such as Braille, large print and audio statements, Textphone and Text Relay facilities, hearing induction loops in branches, and access to British Sign Language interpreters for branch appointments.  Every Nationwide branch carries a 'Helping Hand' kit with useful tools for disabled or older customers such as magnifying glasses and pen grips

  • we've rolled out Talking ATMs to over 1,000 of our ATMs

  • we co-facilitated the creation of and co-wrote the content of the Dementia-Friendly Financial Services Charter


Safety and security

We seek to adhere to all laws relevant to countering bribery and corruption and expect our employees and business partners to operate with honesty, integrity and transparency in all business activities.

Controls and procedures are in place to support this commitment, including: 

  • a communication programme

  • staff training

  • a confidential whistle-blowing procedure

  • independent monitoring and review of the anti-bribery and corruption policies

  • monitoring the gifts and hospitality register

  • annual anti-bribery and corruption risk assessments

  • induction training for new starters

  • all employees complete a Personal Responsibilities Statement and are required to watch an employee fraud film annually

  • regular communications to all employees, including a quarterly newsletter and intranet communications. 


Tax strategy and risk management

Nationwide Group is rated as 'low risk' by HMRC.

  • We manage our tax affairs in accordance with a board-endorsed tax policy that provides a framework for the operation, planning and oversight of tax and tax risk to ensure we comply with all relevant tax legislation and minimise reputational risk.
  • We have adopted the Code of Practice on Taxation for Banks and maintain an effective and collaborative working relationship with HMRC including working in real-time to discuss transactions where the tax treatment is uncertain.
  • We undertake in tax planning that only supports genuine commercial activity in order to maximise member value and not to structure transactions that give a result which is contrary to the intentions of Parliament.
  • The group has documented processes and controls to support the taxes it pays and the preparation and submission of related tax returns.
  • An experienced in-house tax team is responsible for managing the group’s tax affairs and advice is sought from external advisors on material transactions.
  • The Society has worked with HMRC to resolve a number of complex tax issues.
  • The Board receives assurance that the group has operated within all relevant tax laws through periodic reports presented to the Audit Committee.


We're proud to have officially become a Living Wage employer.  Ensuring our employees and those of our suppliers who work on site are paid fairly is something Nationwide is wholly committed to.  The Living Wage is not only good for the individual, it's also good for business, improving employee morale and decreasing absenteeism, as well as helping to tackle wider poverty in society. 

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About Living on your side

Living on your side brings to life our brand promise to be on the side of our members, and was developed following extensive consultation with members, employees and wider stakeholders

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Citizenship Report 2014

A summary version of the Citizenship Report 2014 in PDF​

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