Nationwide Building Society, a mutual owned by and run for the benefit of its members, has published a report on the third year of its five-year citizenship strategy.
Based on feedback from members, the organisation launched Living On Your Side in 2012, with the aspiration of delivering its brand promise to be on the side of its members while taking the idea of ‘citizenship’ to a new level, making a lasting difference to UK society.
“We set ourselves some ambitious targets in 2012,” wrote Graham Beale, Nationwide chief executive, in his introduction to the report. “I am delighted that after three years we are delivering against them and making a real difference in the communities in which we, and our members, are based.”
These targets, to be achieved by 2017, focus on four areas: housing, money, community and society. The 2015 report highlights the progress Nationwide has made so far.
With a history dating to the 1840s, the organisation claims to have a relationship with one in four households.
It has a strong heritage in the housing sector and is now the second largest mortgage lender in the UK. This year the mutual has helped house 179,000 people to be in a home of their own, which it defines as buying a house or renting, either privately or through affordable housing. This takes the three-year total to 547,000 – 73% of its five year target of 750,000.
The building society has also reached 63% of its target to empower one million people to start saving by 2017. This year it helped 259,000 people to start saving, taking the three-year total to 632,000. According to figures from 2014 Savings & Investments Policy Project report, Our Financial Future, 30% of UK households have no savings at all and 34% have less than £250.
For the community strand of the strategy, Nationwide’s goal is to invest and unlock £15m into local communities by 2017, as directed by its members and employees. This year it achieved £4.5m, taking the three-year total to £11m.
In 2015, the mutual also launched a woodlands creation programme, diverted 100% of waste from landfill, reduced its carbon footprint by 11% and water usage by 25% from 2011 figures, and became a principal partner of the Living Wage Foundation.
“We take our broader responsibility to society seriously and aim to play a supportive part in the communities in which we operate,” added Mr Beale. “In this financial year we scored 99% in the 2015 Business in the Community Corporate Responsibility Index and we were also a finalist in the BITC Responsible Business of the Year awards.”