Nationwide direct retention policy criticised

Ramesh Sharma

January 14, 2006

With the lender operating a policy that means communicating directly with all customers, David Arnold, sole trader, admitted his shock at the recent treatment of his client by Nationwide.

After deciding to switch deals to another offer with a different lender, Arnold said his client was inundated with calls from Nationwide in an attempt to retain the customer. He said: “The Nationwide’s branch staff, desperate to hit targets no doubt, are directed to retain existing customers by any means, including direct telephone calls. Despite my protests on the matter these continued up to the point where my client was 10 days away from completion. My client would have lost £499 by following their advice.

“I contacted my Nationwide regional manager, only to be told that they do not distinguish between introduced and direct business when it came to retention approaches by direct telephone calling. I’m sure these actions breach FSA rules, not least Treating Customers Fairly. Continuing to approach a customer directly when they are irrevocably committed to a new lender is unforgivable and if I were to do it I am sure I would be fined.”

Tamsin Hemsley, media relations manager at Nationwide, admitted the lender had acted too abruptly in their efforts to retain the customer. She said: “On this occasion we have to apologise as we have been over-zealous in our attempts to retain the client. However, it is not something that usually happens and our policy remains to communicate directly with customers at the end of their deal. As part of our policy we also don’t differentiate between introduced and direct business, so will deal directly with all our customers.”

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