SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Elizabeth White, Peter Silva, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski

News Feed Item

Nationwide Building Society Calls on Financial Services Industry to Improve Relationships With LGBT Customers

Ex-England Rugby star and straight ally Ben Cohen supports call to win trust of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community as survey highlights gap in service

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM -- (Marketwired) -- 03/19/14 -- A challenge to be more relevant to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender customers has been presented to the financial services industry after issues of trust and confidence were highlighted in a new survey.

Findings from the national research, commissioned by Nationwide Building Society, were today announced at Nationwide's London offices in Threadneedle Street, Bank, hosted by Nationwide's Executive Director of Retail, Chris Rhodes, and 2003 Rugby World Cup winner Ben Cohen - straight ally and Chairman of the Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation which is working to eradicate bullying. Those attending included LGBT networks from the finance industry, marketing professionals and the gay rights charity, Stonewall.

Stonewall estimates that between 5-7% of the UK population is LGBT, equating to around 4.5 million people(i) and representing significant business opportunities to those companies making the effort to meet their needs.

The survey, which forms part of Nationwide's ongoing commitment to promoting diversity among both its 17,000-strong workforce and 15 million customers, is a precursor to a wider industry debate on how to better serve the needs of LGBT customers. Although the industry has made strong progress in breaking down barriers, the results highlighted specific areas for focus, including the need to highlight ethical practices, being supportive of the LGBT movement, implementing effective LGBT employment policies and including LGBT people within advertising and media.

Results from the poll reveal seven in ten people (70%) would switch to a bank or building society that took their issues seriously. More than two thirds (68%) of the LGBT customers surveyed feel that their financial services provider is not taking serious steps to understand them.

Issues around confidence were high on the agenda, with less than half (44%) of people saying they would confidently disclose their sexuality as part of a financial transaction with their provider or advisor, regardless of whether it was face-to-face, online or on the telephone. A further 24% of those polled said they were likely to withhold their sexual orientation because it was felt that a decision might go against them, or that a premium or product would be more expensive.

Other findings showed:


--  70% would switch providers if they believed a financial services
    provider took LGBT issues seriously
--  13% have experienced an uncomfortable situation with a financial
    services provider because of their sexuality. This rises to 17% for
    women, compared to 11% for men.
--  Nearly two thirds (65%) would switch providers to one that trains
    customer service staff on issues and concerns LGBT people may have
    regarding banking finance
--  Women are less likely than men to be happy revealing they are in a same-
    sex relationship during a face-to-face meeting with a mortgage advisor,
    with one in five (20%) not being comfortable, compared to 12% of men.
--  Around four in ten (39%) of LGBT people have not made adequate pension
    or financial plans for themselves and their partner. The gender divide
    was notable, with a third of men (33%) and nearly half of women (47%)
    having not made plans.

The research highlighted the areas where financial services providers could be doing more in order to capitalise on the LGBT market, with a number of factors cited as having the potential to persuade a customer to leave their current provider. These included:


--  80% consider ethical banking practices an important attraction point.
--  70% would be influenced through effective LGBT employment policies and
    support.
--  71% said they would be influenced through more LGBT people featuring in
    mainstream media in relation to a particular company.
--  71% believe products relevant to LGBT customers could be a deciding
    factor.
--  68% would be drawn to companies focussing on corporate citizenship and
    supportive of LGBT groups, events or charities.
--  63% would be influenced through LGBT advertising within LGBT media.

Chris Rhodes, Nationwide's Executive Director for Retail and Executive Sponsor for LGBT, said: "The results of this study make for interesting reading. While some progress has been made in the financial services industry in recent years, when it comes to marketing to and serving LGBT customers, there is still more financial providers can do to ensure these customers feel supported and included. I don't feel this is something that has been given the consideration it deserves.

At Nationwide, we recognise the importance of a diverse workforce, one which reflects our customer base. It makes sound commercial sense and helps Nationwide deliver high standards of service. We are committed to furthering our LGBT agenda within Nationwide and have been recognised by Stonewall as one of the UK's top employers, in addition to our LGBT network having been rated as a Star Performer by the charity. However, there is still more we can do to raise awareness of this important issue and this survey is hoped to open a dialogue with the industry to ensure we all do our best to cater for all customers, irrespective of background."

Ben Cohen said: "This research is an important step to understanding customers better and shows that as much as everyone is different, we all deserve the right to be treated with respect. This is a positive movement and will hopefully lead the way for institutions to encourage equality whilst also being commercially beneficial. It is a win-win proposition and equality is something I'm proud to support."

Simon Feeke, Stonewall Head of Workplace said: "Every business knows that their success relies on them understanding and communicating effectively with customers. Lesbian, gay and bisexual consumers make decisions on the basis of a business's perceived inclusion of them. When businesses get this right, they secure consumer loyalty from millions of gay people and their friends and families. Millions more consumers will also be attracted, sensing that the relaxed inclusion of gay people in advertising or marketing strategies is a sign of a 21st-century product or service."

Notes to editors:


--  (i) Based on UK population of 63.7 million and calculated at 7% of
    population (4,459,000)
--  Nationwide was ranked in the Top 100 list in the Stonewall Equality
    Index with a 'Star Performing' employee led network which has a board
    level executive sponsor.
--  Diversity awareness forms part of our staff induction at Nationwide;
    this includes LGBT.
--  LGBT anti-bullying material is to be included on Nationwide Education,
    in partnership with Stonewall. This will provide another distribution
    channel to ensure the issue of homophobic language and bullying in
    schools is addressed, in addition to engaging and discussing different
    modern family units.
--  Nationwide has featured same sex couples on marketing material.
--  Nationwide is creating a mentoring programme for local schools for LGBT
    staff to support students and give presentations in schools to raise
    awareness.

The research:


--  The research sample was collected from the Out Now consumer panel, which
    is made up from respondents from Out Now's LGBT2020 research who have
    opted- in to take part in further LGBT related research projects. 619
    people responded to the survey.
--  The Out Now Business Class LGBT2020 research project is the largest
    study into the lives of LGBT people globally that has ever been
    undertaken. To date the study has sampled nearly 100,000 people globally
    - gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people in twelve languages
    from 21 countries on six continents on many aspects of their lives. From
    LGBT travel and tourism patterns, lifestyle habits, consumer
    expenditure, incomes, spending, discrimination and entertainment
    preferences - the LGBT2020 project is a ground-breaking project from Out
    Now which is giving unparalleled insight into the lives of real LGBT
    people from all over the world.

About Nationwide

Nationwide is the UK's largest building society as well as a top-three provider of household savings and mortgages in the UK. It is also a major provider of current accounts, credit cards, ISAs and personal loans. Nationwide has around 15 million retail customers. Customers can manage their finances in a branch, on the telephone, internet and post.

Find recent press releases and photos at the Nationwide Media Centre: www.nationwide.co.uk/mediacentre

Twitter: @NationwidePress

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/NationwideBSocietyUK

More Stories By Marketwired .

Copyright © 2009 Marketwired. All rights reserved. All the news releases provided by Marketwired are copyrighted. Any forms of copying other than an individual user's personal reference without express written permission is prohibited. Further distribution of these materials is strictly forbidden, including but not limited to, posting, emailing, faxing, archiving in a public database, redistributing via a computer network or in a printed form.

Latest Stories
This talk focuses on the application of DevOps fundamentals to include network infrastructure. It draws from real deployment case studies on the extension of today's paradigms to address the challenges of the network infrastructures' ability to seamlessly and cohesively integrate into agile workflows. In this session at DevOps Summit, Arista Networks will focus on configuration management using automation with a nod to future work necessary to include telemetry and ephemeral state information....
Avnet, Inc. has announced that it ranked No. 4 on the InformationWeek Elite 100 – a list of the top business technology innovators in the U.S. Avnet was recognized for the development of an innovative cloud-based training system that serves as the foundation for Avnet Academy – the company’s education and training organization focused on technical training around top IT vendor technologies. The development of this system allowed Avnet to quickly expand its IT-related training capabilities around...
SYS-CON Events announced today that dcVAST, a leader in IT infrastructure management, support service and cloud service, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. dcVAST provides cutting-edge IT services and IT infrastructure management services. dcVAST builds robust systems that are simple, secure and serviceable. dcVAST’s IT infrastructure support and IT services expertise can help companies r...
DevOps Summit, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long developmen...
While Docker continues to be the darling of startups, enterprises and IT innovators around the world, networking continues to be a real mess. Indeed, managing the interaction between Docker containers and networks has always been fraught with complications. Without automation in networking, the vision of running Docker at scale and letting IT run the same apps unchanged on the laptop and in the data center or for any cloud cannot be realized.
SYS-CON Events announced today Isomorphic Software, the global leader in high-end, web-based business applications, will exhibit at SYS-CON's DevOps Summit 2015 New York, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Isomorphic Software is the global leader in high-end, web-based business applications. We develop, market, and support the SmartClient & Smart GWT HTML5/Ajax platform, combining the productivity and performance of traditional desktop software ...
Artifactory binary repository management system. As one of the most widely used binary repositories and the only repository that offers a high availability clustered solution, the integration with Artifactory helps customers easily adopt CA Release Automation to optimize their entire software development lifecycle. “Artifactory is a standard maker at the continuous-integration domain and provides the user a powerful repository experience with the freedom to choose his own tools set and ecosyste...
The OnPage SOAP API provides programmatic access to OnPage messaging services. Typical applications include sending messages to individual OnPage users or groups and receiving tracking information for messages such as delivery and read timestamps or reply information. The API is based on open standards known collectively as "Web Services," which includes the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), Web Services Definition Language (WSDL), and the XML Schema Definition language (XSD).
SYS-CON Events announced today the DevOps Foundation Certification Course, being held June ?, 2015, in conjunction with DevOps Summit and 16th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. This sixteen (16) hour course provides an introduction to DevOps – the cultural and professional movement that stresses communication, collaboration, integration and automation in order to improve the flow of work between software developers and IT operations professionals. Improved workflows will res...
Docker is becoming very popular--we are seeing every major private and public cloud vendor racing to adopt it. It promises portability and interoperability, and is quickly becoming the currency of the Cloud. In his session at DevOps Summit, Bart Copeland, CEO of ActiveState, discussed why Docker is so important to the future of the cloud, but will also take a step back and show that Docker is actually only one piece of the puzzle. Copeland will outline the bigger picture of where Docker fits a...
Ayla Networks, whose agile Internet of Things (IoT) platform makes it easy for manufacturers to deliver secure, connected products, today announced it has been included in the list of "Cool Vendors" in the Internet of Things report by Gartner, Inc. “Gartner knows how important it is that manufacturers of all kinds of products have the right IoT solution to help turn their products into connected ‘things,’” said David Friedman, CEO and co-founder of Ayla Networks. “The market for Ayla’s IoT pla...
A new definition of Big Data & the practical applications of the defined components & associated technical architecture models This presentation introduces a new definition of Big Data, along with the practical applications of the defined components and associated technical architecture models. In his session at Big Data Expo, Tony Shan will start with looking into the concept of Big Data and tracing back the first definition by Doug Laney, and then he will dive deep into the description of 3V...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CenturyLink, Inc., a leader in the network services market, has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CenturyLink is the third largest telecommunications company in the United States and is recognized as a leader in the network services market by technology industry analyst firms. The company is a global leader in cloud infrastructure and ...
ScriptRock has been included in the list of "Cool Vendors" in the "Cool Vendors in DevOps 2015" report by Gartner, Inc.* ScriptRock provides visibility into the configuration state of an organization's IT environments, enabling the continuous delivery of mission critical services. For enterprises where downtime is not an option, ScriptRock's system-wide overwatch offers the assurance that misconfigurations and anomalies are caught before they affect the business. By satisfying this fundamental ...
As cloud gives an opportunity to businesses to buy services externally – how is cloud impacting your customers? In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Fabio Gori, Director of Worldwide Cloud Marketing at Cisco, provided answers to big questions: Do you see hybrid cloud as where the world is going? What benefits does it bring? And how does Cisco connect all of these clouds? He also discussed Intercloud and Cisco’s investment on it.