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The Nationwide Building Society has had several names over the years as they have acquired and merged-with other companies. I've been a customer since I left school, which covers at least two of those name changes, and loyalty of thet degree is most unlike me!
Before settling with the Nationwide I tried them all, banks and building societies both. They all charged too much, couldn't offer products or services I wanted, and treated me like my account number. Most of them gained my business by offering a freebie of some description. Nationwide changed that.
>>> "I am not a number, I am a free man!" How?
(Forgive any inaccuracies, I believe the following are true)
* Telephone banking: They were the second company in the UK to offer this, and the first Building Society. To add to that, the phone-pad was available to borrow (£10 deposit) instead of to buy as was being done by the competition.
* PC Home Banking: Before the internet was big, Nationwide pioneered the first ever service of this type. Barclays claim to be the first bank to offer PC Home banking... This is true... Nationwide aren't a bank, so can only claim to be the first in the UK :-)
* Internet banking: Hot on the heels of home banking came the popularity of the internet, and they offer the full range of facilities that you would expect (www.nationwide.co.uk)
* Link cash machines: ... and "Matrix" when that still existed. They were one of the few who let you get your money from such a large selection of machines. To top that, they do not charge you to use other peoples machines, unlike certain other establishments.
* Credit Card: Blah, blah, blah, credit-cards everywhere. Yes, but these guys let ME have one!
* Multi-function cards: Debit, Credit, Cheque gaurantee card etc all in one. They were up there in the early days, and sent me one without being asked twice. Two other banks said I was too young and didn't earn enough!
>>> Other benefits
* Most banks still charge: The ex-Building societies are notable exceptions, but on the whole, they charge for overdrafts, even more for unauthorised overdrafts. They charge for writing you a letter, even if there is no discernable fault on your part - Nationwide did ONCE charge me in error; I phoned up, and had a manager begging for forgivness (that was fun!) and offering not only a full refund, but to cover other costs incurred by me because of their error! They do charge for overdrafts, but they charge interest only; I think the highest charge I've paid in a month is about 7 pence!
* Mortgages: Well, building societies and other mutual organisations were built on this business, so they know their stuff... Better than banks... They've been doing it a lot longer after all. Generally you will find lower rates for longer periods, and the Nationwide is part of this group.
* E-savings account: Everybody is doing it, and Nationwide is up there with some of the higer interest rates on your savings.
* Nationwide do not offer many good mortgage products for re-mortgagers. A minor flaw, but that's why we don't have a Nationwide mortgage anymore.
* They only do "overnight" transactions on the internet account, and not instant like some other internet services. (It'll come.)
* Wait, I'll think of another...
* Nope, can't do it...
About 15 years of excellent service. Almost 300 bank statements of 2 pages each from one company... Ouch, that makes me feel old!
My general advice to people is to avoid banks and go Building Society or ex-Building society. At least they can spell "customer" instead of "01235721, A.N.Other"
Very good op. I too Bank with them and have a mortgage with them and the only thing I would have a little winge about is the fact that it took them 6 months to get the mortgage offer out. Everytime u called they said they were missing something else. If they had told me everything the first time if would have been a whole lot quicker.
tange 22.08.2001 18:36
a great opinion....some great points & well wriiten and set out too!