Nationwide revolutionises mobile banking

Working with IBM to deliver a five-star mobile banking app on time and on budget

Published on 13-Sep-2013

"Nationwide is the most trusted brand in financial services and it is therefore important that we are seen by customers to be able to compete with the other high street banks. The ability to match the speed of product and service delivery is hugely important and key to maintaining Nationwide’s competitive position." - Richard Searle, Head of Channel Integration, Nationwide



Deployment country:
United Kingdom



Following on from the successful implementation of its new Internet Bank, Nationwide was quick to capitalise on their investment and develop a brand new Mobile solution for both Android and iOS devices. In line with its Multi Channel transformation strategy, Nationwide saw the opportunity to develop an app for its growing customer base, bringing it into the Mobile Banking arena.

Business need:
Faced with increasing competition in the Mobile Banking sector, Nationwide needed to rapidly deploy a Mobile Banking app so that it not only had a competitive presence, but could also deliver a better experience to its members and put itself amongst the market leaders for Mobile Banking in the UK.

Nationwide launched the Mobile Banking programme to deliver a new Mobile Banking app based on the next-generation internet bank recently delivered in conjunction with IBM. The IBM team took on full project management responsibility, using a hybrid accelerated development methodology to ensure successful delivery within the constraints of a fixed-price, multiple-subcontractor agreement.

A competitive Mobile Banking proposition maximizing the intuitive online banking experience already delivered for members. Providing a clean and simple interface without compromising on functionality. Ensuring Security through existing online banking architecture.

Case Study

Following on from the successful implementation of its new Internet Bank, Nationwide was quick to capitalise on their investment and develop a brand new Mobile solution for both Android and iOS devices. In line with its Multi Channel transformation strategy, Nationwide saw the opportunity to develop an app for its growing customer base, bringing it into the Mobile Banking arena.

Keeping up with the competition
Nationwide recognised that new investment was needed to capitalise on the success of its new Online Banking experience to keep up with the competition. The success of its competitors’ Mobile Banking offerings meant that there was a widening competitive gap for the Society both in terms of channel costs and digital reputation. Essentially, competitors were more successfully broadening their channels to allow the movement of low-value transactions to Mobile Banking, freeing up their branches for higher-value mediated or regulated transactions and sales.

Recognising that the re-engineering of its internet channel had provided Nationwide with the perfect foundations to provide a competitive, scaleable, performant and yet elegant Mobile Banking solution, Nationwide launched the Mobile Banking programme to deliver its next digital channel offering to the Market.

Richard Searle, Head of Channel Integration at Nationwide “We were the first bank in the UK to introduce a mobile platform in 2000, however customer expectations of self-service through this channel using dedicated apps for iPhone and Android smart phones required us to revisit the capabilities of our existing platform. Our decision to exploit the multi-channel architecture of our Internet Bank, along with an exceptional programme team allowed us to deliver a 5 star application to market in short measure.”

A member-centric approach
The goal of the Mobile Banking programme was to create a Mobile Banking experience that would build on the success of the new Internet Bank and better reflect members’ needs, providing a clean and simple interface without compromising on functionality.

Nationwide contracted IBM to take on full project management responsibility for Mobile Banking, under the constraints of a fixed-price, multiple-subcontractor agreement. The IBM team was required to provide project leadership, governance and innovation, to ensure that the solution would not only meet immediate needs, but would also embed the technical capabilities to support the Society’s future growth.

To kick start Mobile Banking, IBM set up a three-week programme of workshops and review sessions to cover the key aspects of the programme. This was the Solutioning phase which was based on the re-use of its Accelerated Delivery methodology. The team involved existing and prospective Nationwide members right from the start, taking the existing Internet Bank functionality and generating the requirements for Mobile Banking. This provided extremely rapid engagement and advocacy, ensuring that all development was geared very closely to members’ needs. This approach - putting the members front and centre - continued throughout the full eight-month Mobile Banking project.

To fit with Nationwide’s existing practices while also enabling greater speed and agility, IBM re-used the hybrid accelerated development methodology that blends features of waterfall and agile. This enabled early testing to prove the framework and reduce project risk, ensuring shorter development cycles and ‘early wins’ that helped maintain momentum. Most importantly, the iterative development approach provided more opportunities to feed in outputs from customer engagement exercises.

A key stage at the end of the project was the creation of a pilot portal for all employees - the largest pilot in Nationwide’s history, breaking the previous Internet Bank record. This stage provided unprecedented insight into how people really use Mobile Banking, and enabled the fine-tuning of registration, log-on and navigation. It also helped build strong advocacy for the Mobile Banking app among branch staff, who are now promoting the new service to their customers with genuine enthusiasm and pride.

Managing the process
Although many of the project roles were fulfilled by Nationwide employees or by other external partners, IBM took on full project management responsibility for making Mobile Banking happen on time and within budget. IBM showed its commitment to delivering on this promise by agreeing to a fixed-price contract. This approach stemmed from the success of the Internet Banking programme which was a first for Nationwide, and required all parties to talk very openly throughout the project about commercially sensitive topics.

Richard Searle – Head of Channel Integration “I firmly believe that the ‘one team’ approach with all parties engaging in open, honest and transparent dialogue was fundamental to our ability to deliver on time and to budget.”

A resounding success
The Mobile Banking app is now live for all Internet Banking registered users at Nationwide. The new Mobile Banking app re-uses a lot of the previously developed functionality and technology platform from the Internet Bank project. The Mobile app supports both Android operating systems and devices as well as iOS and Apple devices.

The new Mobile Banking app provides a clean, modern interface with a number of features, including:

  • Statements – full and mini enabling members to check their balances on the move
  • Transfers – enabling members to transfer money between their accounts securely
  • Payments to existing payees
  • Quick and easy navigation through the app

Help and support facilities
Mobile Banking is considered to be another very successful project undertaken at Nationwide, and a second example of how the Society’s key transformation function is adapting the lessons learned for use in other projects.

Since the end of day one the app was trending as the number one finance app in the UK on the Apple Appstore and it peaked at number 21 on the list of top free apps. A week and a half later and the app was a 5 star app on both Apple and Android after having been downloaded over 50,000 times with 43,000 enrollments. The success of the Mobile Banking app has also contributed to Nationwide being named “Best Online Banking Provider” and “Best Overall Online Provider” in the Your Money Direct Awards 2013.

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

GBS Strategy and Change: Business Strategy, GBS Strategy and Change: Technology Strategy, GBS S&T: Business and Customer Strategy - Business Strategy, GBS S&T: Technology Strategy, GBS Technology Strategy, IBM Global Business Services

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013. IBM United Kingdom Limited. PO Box 41. North Harbour. Portsmouth. Hampshire. PO6 3AU. Produced in the United Kingdom. September 2013. IBM, the IBM logo,, and Global Business Services are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at: This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. The client examples cited are presented for illustrative purposes only. Actual performance results may vary depending on specific configurations and operating conditions. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided.