Nationwide Building Society equals poor customer service

tomser22's picture

I am so glad of this opportunity to warn all moneywise users TO STEER CLEAR OF NATIONWIDE BUILDING SOCIETY!!

 I have been with the society for many years however since they merged with Portman the customer service has been non existant!

I attempted to transfer an ISA into Nationwide in March 2008 and still am waiting for my money to be made available in my account! I have received confirmation in April that the money was with them but they have still not funded my account with my money!

I have visited branches, rung call centres, spoken to managers, written to Nationwide and now written to Daily Mail as they were running a story on the poor service offered on ISA transfers.

After Nationwide branches have been unable to help, call centres have promised call back and they have never materialised and even managers who apologised for the poor level of service and agreed they did have my funds in May - and assured me of a call back have all failed me.

I would like to know what other companies are permitted to retain customers money in their accounts and not process it after 4 months have elapsed.  Any other company you would be taking them to the small claims court - but what hope have you got with this financial services!

I have today received another communication from nationwide confirming they have my monies but advising I need to fill out an application form to transfer the funds.  You might think this is a good step forward, but as I have already completed 2 application forms and provided these to Nationwide already, I feel it is just another delaying tactic to try and make it look like they are actually doing something!

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE take my advise and stay well clear of Nationwide.  The queues out of the doors of branches is a clear sign of the poor level of service provided, and if my experience is anything to go by, probably better to keep your money under the mattress.

Your Comments

If you're reading this then it's probably a little too late.. however if you've not been screwed over yet then this snippet is in relation to NW fixed rate mortgages...

Beware trying to move house with NW. We recently sold our house expecting to move to a house of the same value 'porting' the mortgage we paid a premium for only for the application to be rejected due to OD issue with another bank.

To put this into context we had never missed a payment with Nationwide in over 2 years, the mortgage provider for our 2nd property, our credit card or loans that had all cleared the month before... So despite being in the best financial position in my life I was rejected due being on a 'OD reduction plan' with another bank (facility withdrawn as I changed main bank accounts, but was also cleared). In short NW got £5k out of us and have forced my wife, daughter and I into living with extended family whilst we complain bitterly to the FSA, Ombudsman, NW, etc.

Please serve this annecode to others considering NW mortgages as a stark warning.

I've been a NW customer since 1979 and like all of you I've had really poor customer service the last couple of years since they took on a lot of Northern Rock's former customers. I even had statements with my last name wrong. After several complaints they sent me a name change form! It took more than seven months and endless emails and calls, for them to reset my passdetails for my e banking. Then they charged me for copies of statements which I wouldn't have needed if I'd been able to use my e banking.

They keep lowering my overdraft facility since they know that I'm short of funds like the rest of the population at the moment. When I return to work next year I'm going to have my wages paid into an account with another bank. For all those having problems transferring their ISA's they should keep copy of all their correspondence with NW and then contact the Financial Ombudsman and get compensation.

The rest of us will vote with our feet.

I have had a terrible time with them, don`t go with them, oh so has my son.they should spend lots more money on adverts, cos I`m a walking compainer, I tell every one about them.

I just googled to see if anyone else had problems with nationwide CS. Nice to know I am not alone. Time to find a new bank.

I work for Nationwide at head office in Swindon. The problem with ISA transfers is that it is dealt with temps who know they will nt have a job in 3 mnths so they do not care about the quality of their work. I know there are some good, quality staff at nationwide, but I have also seen some people who don't deserve a job at all!!! I think Nationwide could become so much better if they actually made sure the hiring process was more thorough!!!

Ex Portman members. We have two joint account fixed rate bonds with Nationwide, a one year and a two year. Form R85 was in place when the bonds were set up and money transferred into the account as my wife is not a taxpayer. Nationwide failed to take account of this initially.

The maturity account did not reflect the correct interest at the contracted rates on the one year bond. The two year bond maturity was similarly incorrect.

When challenged they sent a complex calculation ignoring the fact that on a one year bond at maturity the rate is applied to the capital then tax applied. We found that they were applying 50% of my tax rate to the joint total interest. On this bond it should have made no difference but there was a discrepancy.

The two year bond interest and tax calculation at the end of the first year were also incorrect and the difference was even greater at the end of year two. We did spreadsheets applying my tax at the correct rate to the 50% of the interest for one two and three years to see what happened.

The error became greater year by year. We found you cannot apply half the tax rate to the whole account instead of the correct rate to half the sum as the compounding works differently on the tax free part. ANY BOND OF MORE THAN ONE YEAR will always underpay interest using their method AND THIS AFFECTS ALL CUSTOMERS!.

After repeated passing around to different Customer Services Managers (how many are there?) we got the following reply "I feel there is no need to justify our calculations or indeed pass comment upon those supplied by you."

Thank you Nationwide staff, our employees! You do not give a damn. As members of a mutual we can all be personally responsible for financial mistakes you make (shades of Equitable Life) we should all get our money out now. Do not get us going on ISA's. The service we receive is atrocious.

We have had an account with them for 20 yrs we live in Canada my wife went over to the UK at the end of October this yr went to use the new bank card which they sent to us on the 21 february this yr and it was not accepted she went in and they said they sent out new cards in October last yr which is a blatent lie I e-mailed their head office and they said they would look after it right away I am still waiting my wife has no money meantime.for the love of god could they not phone the branch where my wife is then phone my wife to go there and help her out.what a heartless despicable uncaring people they are with no sense of shame.we will be closing our account and hope it doesn't take 4months to get our money,if they were in Canada they would be out of business in 6 months.

Sadly, this is Nov 2010 and it appears not much has changed.

How has this been allowed to continue?
Who is the responsible authority?
Which Government Dept. is responsible for Building Societies?

I attended County Court yesterday for 2 cases involving NW:
The judge stated he saw lots of similar cases
He stated NW was not co-operating
He implied that this was not acceptable and better was xpected of them and asked their representative to convey this message.

I have written to FSA asking the 3 questions above. Other than an acknowledgement of my query, I have no reply.

This morning I spoke to the ninth person within 2 weeks about a problem with my online banking. Nationwide issued me with an erroneous ID sign in and of course I cannot access my deposit of £1000. They keep saying they will sort it out but the problem just gets worse. As soon as I get access to my money, I am transferring it out, dont care if I lose interest. I wouldnt trust them with my granddaughters pocket money.

What a shame I used to love banking with Nationwide...I had a reducing overdraft and had the money to pay in in full but preferred to reduce gradually. I went away with work and explained that I would not be in the same timezone or near a bank to make payment could I set a direct debit to my other bank, they said no. All I need was DD. So I paid when I left at the airport. When they called me in India they said I had defaulted I could not believe it. I asked for a compliant to be made and to reinstate the agreement I heard nothing. They called me in India, Ukraine and Spain every few days asking for money and I said what about my complaint the agreement.They said they had written to me! But I was in India Great! Why was I in default when i paid at the airport? When I got back I paid in 3 x what i said I would. They called and said they closed my account! The complaint was never dealt with! I asked 3 times to lodge a complaint and someone to call. NEVER GOT IT! I

I have a flex account with nationwide. I discovered recently that 16000 was transfered from my account online to another person in a day. Called nationwide special invistigation team who were very bad in dealing with my case.Since 2 weeks now havent received my money. i ring the lady who is in charge of my case and she says still invistigating. oh my god . I just would like to know how the criminals managed to transfer this large amount within one day. Where is security. Why the nationwide bank didnt phone me asking if i authorized teh transfer or not. Now i am left alone without any money.The money was intended for a deposit of a mortgage with Santander. Nationwide is teh worest bank ever i seen.

Have had problems with Santander and Nationwide so would avoid both if I were you! Call centres at both are awful!
Very difficult to speak to a person. Staff poorly trained and give conflicting information.

I've been a Nationwide customer for over 25 years and have generally had good service but the recent low interest rates caused me to move most of my savings elsewhere. This extract from a Guardian article from May 2010 is very revealing:

The society has been hit by a "significant contraction" in its core savings and mortgage markets. It revealed that a net £8.2bn of savings cash had been withdrawn by customers last year, though Chris Rhodes, the group product and marketing director, insisted it had taken a decision "not to chase the most rate-sensitive customers – we consciously let that element of the customer base leave us."

So they don't want billions of pounds from financially aware customers.

Now 7 branches are being closed in South East London in May. My closest remaining branch is only accessible to me on Saturday morning. Very reluctantly I'll be going back to one of the banks for my accounts.

People like you are sad and will spoil everything why do you love
them ? So lame you have nothing to say sa

Nationwide Building Society = Greed and Appalling Service

Beware of Nationwide's appalling standards of service and avoid it at all costs.

Having charged us 174% in charges for being overdrawn by £50 for four days for the first and only time in 20 years, I fully support the view that the queues outside its branches are indicative of Nationwide’s total indifference to its customers.

In common with most large organisations it dumps all of its complaints with customer services which deliberately employ denial, delaying, obstruction and confusion tactics to avoid providing answers to legitimate questions. Nationwide’s senior management also display arrogance and poor leadership as it fails to answer for its policies choosing instead to hide behind junior staff members.

Nationwide should be stripped of the mutuality status because they are ripping off their members with unfair charges. My son who is a student has been charged in excess of £900 in the past two years. He was unaware of the unjustified ransom that this hybrid financial institution levies on their unsuspected customers. They are a disgrace to mutuality.

Indeed, I couldn't agree more. After their latest display of incompetence, negligence, rudeness I am closing both my current and ISA accounts at Nationwide.

I closed my NW account due to the poor service.

My husband & I have had a flex account with Nationwide, we stopped using the account three months ago, paid what was owed & requested to close the account - not as simple as it sounds, I rang their head office numerous times, they just refer me to the local branch, I have been into the local branch eight times in three months, they refer me back to head office.........
I am normally a very patient person but this is getting beond a joke-
Although we stopped using the account three months ago c harges appear each month as if by magic


I had Portman ISAs many years ago. I voted No to the takeover of Portman by Nationwide (too rigid, etc). I went travelling for a while and now I find that unless I can prove two proofs of address - which I am unable to do - I am unable to have access to my ISAs, as my mail - the only once-a-year statement that Nationwide send out - got returned. What is one to do if one goes travelling and then wants access to their funds to rent or even for other information for other organisations (ie when asked if I have any ISAs and how much they are worth). The Nationwide are absolutely refusing to even tell me how much money I hold with them. I went into the Harrow branch with my passport, driving licence, and National Insurance card - surely this is enough to prove my ID, if not my address. They are refusing to even tell me how much is there and definitely not allowing me access to my money. I am concerned that if I leave it in there much longer the Government will take it, as they will consider it a dormant account. Please tell me what I am supposed to do? They told me they would accept a solicitor's address for correspondence - how this can be more secure than a POBox or mailbox, I fail to understand. I went to three solicitors this afternoon and was told that Nationwide cannot withhold my money. I was also told by the FSA that according to the jmsgl rules that Nationwide are 'unreasonable with giving me access to my account'. How can it not be enough proof if I have provided Passport, Driving Licence and National Insurance card. I am sure if I gave them my DNA, that wouldn't be proof enough because it wouldn't be two addresses. Please advise.

I joined Nationwide as I often work abroad and needed access to my current account without cost. I was sold the idea of a current account with them on the strength of Free European Banking. Last summer after hearing the rumour that this was to be withdrawn I contacted Nationwide and was assured that this was to be only in countries outside the EU.
Returning from an extended working trip in Europe I found that I'd had massive bank charges applied to my current account for simply using it & despite having quite a lot of money in there!!
Shocked, I rang the branch & was promised that a supervisor would ring me later that afternoon. I get lots of calls selling me insurance etc, but clearly my concerns about the service which had been withdrawn wasn't going to get them any commission so no-one could be bothered to call me back. Seems they sent a circular out in November, probably buried in the pile of junk selling me insurance, ISA's etc, I never saw it.

I put a big chunk of my savings into an ISA with the Nationwide at Swindon, and assumed, very trustingly, they would pay me a fair, going rate. Silly me. Over three years it has cost me about two grand in lost interest, paying a quarter of 1% of a peanut...or something like that, I'm not very good at maths (just a poor SEO website/blog writer-promoter) But I can count - it should have paid about 12 times the amount. I wrote to the Nationwide Building Society CEO, a Mr Beale, in June and I´m still waiting for a proper sensible, non-bureaucratic reply. He just passed my grievance to an army of word processing operatives and complaints forms issuers. After much chasing up by email they eventualy sent out their stored standard letter (by post would you believe?) I'm told the onus is on me to check what I'm getting - and no way could they have NOT noticed a very large sum of money (18 grand) sitting there in the wrong account. I don´t believe what they say now, because one thing banks are certainly good at, it´s looking at ... an ISA with the Nationwide at Swindon, and assumed, very trustingly, they would pay me a fair, going rate. Silly me. Over three years it has cost me about two grand in lost interest, paying a quarter of 1% of a peanut...or something like that, I'm not very good at maths (just a poor SEO website/blog writer-promoter) But I can count - it should have paid about 12 times the amount. I wrote to the Nationwide Building Society CEO, a Mr Beale, in June and I´m still waiting for a proper sensible, non-bureaucratic reply. He just passed my grievance to an army of word processing operatives and complaints forms issuers. After much chasing up by email they eventualy sent out their stored standard letter (by post would you believe?) I'm told the onus is on me to check what I'm getting - and no way could they have NOT noticed a very large sum of money (18 grand) sitting there in the wrong account. I don´t believe what they say now, because one thing banks are certainly good at, it´s looking at what they are making for themselves. This bank sat on my cash and have pocketed themselves the true market rate it earned. Writing my tale here, maybe little me will get the right attention now and a proper reply. Banks and financial places should be aiming - after the big mess they have go themselves in to in recent years - TO LOOK AFTER THEIR CUSTOMERS! Watch this space for a happy ending or .. a link to my forthcoming ´Peanuts%' blog. Any contributions or comments welcome -


A credit report giving a credit rating of 900.

1. A loyal customer with Nationwide for 17 years
2. Never had an overdraught in 44 years
3. Owe less the £3000 in loans, mortgaguge, bills and credit card payments combined.
3. All bills paid in full on time.
4. In all the years i have held a credit card with Nationwide i have only ever missed 1 payment on time, upon which they contacted me and i happily paid over the phone. (over 36 months ago).

RESULT : a leter dated 15 July 2001


"we take action where we believe there is a risk that a customer will be unable to repay the credit borrrowed"

When i request an explanation non was given

It would appear that whilst i am able to provide ample proof of my credit history, Nationwide cannot even justify nor have the courtesy to provide a reason for their decision.


It would appear that in todays fianancial climate banks and building societies can just do whatever they like whithout any consequence, i would welcome any legal advice to pursue this case further.

I can never get through the surley call centre staff. It seems they ask so many security questions then HA! HA! You got one wrong so we can't help! Now they've changed my credity card and all the regular payments have to be changed. Their attitude We know we've changed it but you'll just have to sort the mess out yourself. Service, what service?

I am so disappointed with Nationwide, I switched from Santander after they made a series of mistakes with my current account.  I was impressed with Nationwide's professional customer representatives and was aware that they, traditionally, had a good reputation. 
My illusions were shattered once I joined the bank.  First of all, they tried to persuade me to take their credit card and then refused to let me have one as I am an older woman, financially secure, own my home outright, have retired from work a few years ago, and no longer needed to work.  I find this sexist, ageist and insulting particularly as my credit record has always been squeaky clean.
Secondly, I am shocked to discover Nationwide make it impossible to use the money in my account to pay my bills. The automated service does not allow me to pay the majority of my regular bills (despite the fact that the customer service reps claim it had those particular accounts are registered for the auto service).  The customer service reps don't have the facility to transfer money and kept directing me back to the automated service.  They tell me I would have to use internet banking (despite not being registered for it) something I no longer want to do, having had our Bank of Scotland business account robbed by a hacker a few years ago (we eventually got the money back but it took months).  One hour forty minutes on the phone and they were completely useless, could not do a simple thing such as transfer money to my credit card company.  Every other bank I have ever used has taken less than three minutes to do this transaction for me, Nationwide are the only bank that does not allow its customers to pay bills via the telephone, directing them to an automated service that does not work.
What a bunch of cowboys, the reps are polite and helpful but the moron in charge of their procedures needs his/her backside kicking into touch.  I've been with them two months and they are by far the worst current account providers I have ever had.

Nationwide are the worse.  They have cancelld my credit card without notice, post-dated cancellations, admitted that they haven't got a good reason for doing it, ignored all my phon calls,
As a bunch of liars and corrupt hysters, I would rate them fairly highly, as decent workers, I would say they are out of control and take pleasure in ripping people off

I'd like to set up a website warning others how simply awful crooked and nasty nbs is they have swindled me out of many hundreds taken ppl payment 4 x a month missile me 4 mortgages and evaded credit card responsibilities on defective purchases
i joined them in 1987 when Halifax would lend me for house purchase  I took a second mort in 1999 to buy 2 nd nearer work property and the doubled up on my payments in2000 hst promised by renaded on a agreement to lend me £89k for a house so I had to go to nbs and they sold me 4 mortssoread over three props  to buy this with is a mort for loans totalling £119 I was paying £1127 a month at 2 1/2% plus £179 is a payments  I have used all,the PPi clim cos but nbs is Teflon avoid avoid avoid I think I'd trust wonna more 
Nationwide= never on your side -  Nasty avericious  tricky insincere obviously wicked 

i have had my account information sent to another family member, i called in regarding this matter and it was a battle to log my complaint. Once i did log my complaint the complaint handler advised me to send the letter to her direct by post. I did this however i did not keep a copy or send the correspondant by recorded del. Nationwide lost my paperwork and then tried to advise me they could no longer continue with the complaint?!
Again i had to battle with the complaints team and state they did not advise me to keep a copy or ask me me to send it by recorded del. I have had the phone put down on me when i wanted to speak to senior managment and question there process and procedures. i have emailed the ceo office 3 times but yet to recive a call!
I cannot belive nationwide have started to behave like a bank and have started to blame customers for there own mistakes, also there response to my compliant was.. " if your not happy, you can leave" rather than apoligise for the error.
A breach of data has been committed and the swindon complaints manager and staff have pointed the finger at me??!! and also questioned me why i was upset!!
Nationwide continues to treat customers like this they too will join the rest of the high street banks, energy companies and supermakets, were customers has lost all trust and the wheels have started to come away, simply becuse they stopped listening to there own customers
I know there are plenty of hard working nationwide staff out there and the few spoil it for the rest. Please me mindfull when loggin a complaint becuse it seems they do not like to adher to there own process and procedutres and do not record calls which they do not favour the outcome. Shame on nationwide

I have been having a run in with Nationwide b s, their complaints
were moved to Dunfermline branch and they do not seem to know the systems of Nationwide online banking, like the previous writer, I had the phone put down on me.
My complaint was because someone had accessed my online account and changed some actual account numbers for a credit card that I had in 2008, who I paid by direct debit until 2009. The card was obsolete from August 2009.  In 2010 I went online and keyed all my single payments in and in 2014 one of my payments bounced, looking at the payment details I saw that the online account had been altered to the old details, despite numerous phone calls to Dunfermline, the person I spoke to kept quoting the obsolete account as correct, in December apparently Nationwide had a problem with Tesco Credit Card payments and I know that is when someone went into my account and put the wrong details on, this has caused me considerable problems and it is still not admitted by Nationwide, I have now had some dealings with the Complaints team Manager, who asked me to send my paperwork again proving this, I have still heard nothing, not only is this a problem for me but also poses a security risk, to have someone alter something without my permission. 

Nationwide is the best performing building society in the country - if you happen to be a director. For members their performance is pathetic
If you have problems with the Nationwide it is best to vote AGAINST EVERYTHING on their AGM ballot paper.
Do not throw the ballot paper away.
Do not vote FOR anything and Never Never use the Quick Vote trick.

I'm so pleased I read this article.
I wanted to change my account from Halifax to Nationwide as my parents and son have an account with them.  However, I do have a poor credit rating.  Because of this Nationwide will not let me have an account with Direct Debits, which is apparently a "perk" I have been enjoying with Halifax for 17 years. 
I would not mind if I had applied for an account that came with an overdraft facility or lots of extras, but I applied for a bog standard current account with no frills.  I was rejected. 
The irony is I work full time and earn a comfortable salary.  Nationwide were more than happy to thrust a Flex Account into my sons hands, even though he is in full time education and does not work.  My brother also has a Flex Account and he is on Job Seekers Allowance.  Apparently, to get an account with Nationwide I have to give up work!
Seriously, Nationwide!!  If you want customers, make your accounts realistic to people who work of a living.
I would not touch them with a barge pole now.  I'll will be stikcing with Halifax.
Perhaps a clue on how bad Nationwide have become, they are giving away £100 for a recommendation.  They second a bank starts doing this you know they're in trouble

Peversly I am heartened by the posts here. I have been a customer for 30 years and everything was hunkey dorey until I got too sick to work, that's what happens to people sometimes. Now I owe them an over draft they are on my case like the Gestapo. They put a charge on my home through the courts for a 6 grand credit card I was paying off monthly by arrangement, not good enought for them at £10.00 a month, causing me extreme stress as they can then go through the courts to push for a possession to get their 6 grand. THEN they wrote to me to ask me for my 10 quid a month!!!  I am on sickness benefit and at the moment I am on half pay as I had it stopped because I was too sick to go to a work capability assessment so I am on the princely sum of 73 quid a week plus child benefit and tax credits, bringing the grand total to 200 a week. I don't get housing benefit so EVERYTHING has to come out of that, with 2 big teenagers to feed and clothe. Plus they withdraw my overdraft facility without telling me regularly, leaving me with no money for food, gas and electricity.  Their greatest acheivement has been to charge me direct debit fees; my ex partner who is with Nationwide pays my maintenance and some other costs ito my account on 20th of every month. I set up all the direct debits for that date. Nationwide (once I was in debt, never happened before) bounced every single one and charged me  - REPEATEDLY.  Their excuse has beent hat I must have the money in my account 24 hours in advance of the DD. The money comes through their systems! Never happened before. I had to take everything off direct debit to solve the probelm but they got hundreds of pounds out of me at a time I was desperate.  Now this is a financial arrangement that has been in place 22 years!  Because I have been so ill I didn't manage to get a formal complaint in or FSA or ombudsman. I really hate them. They are everyhing a buidling society was not set up to be and the minute I've paid that overdraft off I'm ditching them.

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