For the second year running no one at Nationwide Building Society wanted to talk to us for the MIS 100, which is a shame because the building society has had a very good year. Its total assets are valued at over £120.6 billion, profits before tax were £559.2 million, efficiency has improved for the 16th consecutive year and it has an 11.8 per cent share of net residential mortgage advances. It has over 3.1m current accounts, and its members’ savings have increased by 10 per cent.

More importantly, with the emphasis for financial institutions now firmly concentrated on winning new business and increasing real levels of customer satisfaction, Nationwide recently came top of a Forrester Research pan-European survey on customer advocacy. Customer advocacy is a measurement of when customers believe their banks do what is best for them, and 54 per cent of Nationwide’s customers do believe that, more than any other financial institution in Europe.

In 2004 Nationwide announced a £300m, six-year investment programme for its branch, telephone systems and other access channels, and since then has been improving and modernising its distribution channels. According to its annual report, Nationwide has refurbished nearly 100 branches, made a number of investments in its agency network, launched a new telephone banking service and provided text alerting for both mortgage and current account members.

The building society is also 30 per cent of the way through a network revamp at its two administration centres in Swindon and Northampton. The network consists of 1,000 kilometres of cabling, links to 8,000 systems and will allow the building society to add new business applications to its finance, personnel and call centre departments. It has outsourced the work to Computacenter.

More recently, it has extended the use of its CRM platform to let call centre staff access self-service screens that are already available online to customers, and bypass some of the legacy systems they have had to use in the past. The building society has been using Portrait CRM since 2002, and has now begun testing real-time analytics tools from the company to generate improved prompts for staff to cross-sell other products and services.