The Nationwide is the UK's largest building society and it offers a wider range of financial products than many building societies and banks in the UK.
Savings and investments
In addition to the current account (the FlexAccount), the Nationwide offers instant access savings accounts including the regular savings account, the internet-based e-savings account, and the CashBuilder cash card and passbook accounts. The InvestDirect account may be managed online, by phone, or through cash machines. Nationwide cash or stocks and shares ISAs allow investment up to £10,680 tax free in 2011/12 at attractive interest rates. Higher interest may also be available on the online ISA, the 75-day ISA (which requires 75 days notice of withdrawals), or the fixed rate ISAs where investment is for one to three year terms. The Protected Equity Bond is an investment for a six-year fixed term where interest is linked to the performance of three stock market indices up to certain amount. If the indices fall, the original investment is returned in full at the maturity date, but without the benefit of any return on the investment.
The Nationwide offers fixed rate or tracker mortgages. Acceptance of an application depends on factors such as the sum required, whether an interest only or repayment mortgage is needed, the value of the house, and the monthly income and outgoings of the applicant. Both repayment and interest-only mortgages are available. No more than 75% of the value of the property may be on an interest-only basis, and customers must have a suitable repayment plan. First-time borrowers who want to borrow more than 75% of property value must take out a repayment mortgage. A mortgage is currently available with an interest rate fixed for the first three years, reverting to the standard Nationwide mortgage rate for the remainder of the term. There is a minimum deposit level of at least 30%, and product and booking fees apply.
The Nationwide offers personal loans between £7,500 and £14,999 for terms of up to five years at competitive fixed interest rates. No fees are required for arranging the personal loan, and online application is possible. Nationwide credit cards are available and offer a choice of 0% interest on balance transfers during the first 17 months or 0% on purchases in the first six months. As with credit cards generally, the interest rate is much higher than for a mortgage or personal loan. The Nationwide offers home, car and travel insurance. Other types of insurance available may include life insurance, critical illness cover and income protection insurance. Business insurance is available for shops, offices or surgeries, and specialised insurance is available for the buy-to-let market.