Last autumn Nationwide, the UK’s biggest building society, reported interim profit up 30 per cent to £336.4 million in the six months ended September 30 2006. This compares with £254.8m in the same period the year before. Also in September, the company announced it would take over rival Portman, the third largest building society, in a deal that will create the UK’s second largest mortgage lender after HBOS. The merger is due to take effect in September 2007. Analysts said that the combined group would be a stronger competitor for the big retail banks and could trigger other banks and building societies to look at consolidation as a way of cutting costs.

A bid to ensure accurate and accessible information prompted Nationwide to carry out a major review of its storage strategy as it believes that its data storage strategy is crucial to its wider success. As the mutual’s volume of data grew, it became apparent that the organisation’s ability to manage storage infrastructure through traditional manual methods was unsustainable, so data storage became a budget priority.

Nationwide took the decision to deploy Onaro’s SANscreen storage service management software, which provides capacity for 850Tb of data. The building society achieved a 50 per cent return on its investment in the first week of implementation and a full return on investment within a month.

On a Green note, Nationwide is implementing technology to replace printed statements to reduce the environmental impact of its business. From February, Nationwide credit card customers have been given the option to receive their account information online. Macro4, a document technology vendor, is supplying the system. The Macro4 technology has previously provided online access to over 200 million documents in Nationwide’s branches, call centres and administrative offices. By extending this paperless access to its customers, Nationwide hopes to lower customer service costs and expand its capability to save paper from being wasted.

Nationwide is implementing technology to replace printed statements to reduce the environmental impact of its business