Nationwide Building Society

Nationwide Asked Slate: Help us deliver digital

We partnered with NBS the worlds largest building society to help them deliver across their digital teams from mobile to in-branch, agile to architecture frameworks. Our first ask was to help improve their existing banking app where we reduced the load time from up to 16 seconds to under a second in just a few weeks. Further successes included being instrumental in the delivery of the societys first experience language. Read more below.

The Ask

It is not unusual for large corporates such as Nationwide Building Society to consult with smaller more specialised firms such as Slate. What made this opportunity unique was that it was actually not NBS that originally reached out, it was one of their incumbent on-site delivery partners IBM who contacted us on their behalf. They were struggling with a specific problem that they had already invested large amounts of time and money in trying to solve. They acted in the best interests of their client NBS and brought Slate in to assist in tackling the problem.

Slate became a “Centre of excellence” for app development, extending from full stack development through to deployment and architecture, SoR (system of record), JavaScript to C# and .Net, upskilling suppliers and NBS developers along the way using a range of technologies and frameworks. Slate played a vital role in bridging gaps between development and enterprise architecture and also cross pollinating dev teams from different areas of the business through knowledge sharing and enhanced communication.

The success of the the engagement led to a flourishing relationship directly between NBS and Slate and encouraged by IBM. Slate then took up a broader role supporting digital delivery across the society all the way through to assisting in delivering of the Covid 19 response - the first bank in the UK to have a digital journey for the Coronavirus mortgage payment break.


Slate stayed small and agile throughout the engagements with NBS. We injected smart, creatively minded engineers into their internal teams, and capped the number of Slate people within any division or project - trust at the heart of our delivery.


Digital change requires a ‘’start-up mindset” and people with a start-up mindset don’t usually work for corporates. Slate provided NBS with a very small start-up team of incredibly smart technologists for just as long asthey needed them.


There were many shared successes during our time at NBS including delivering the next gen mobile banking app, in branch colleague mobilisation tech, mortgage modelling tablet functionaility, agile at scale and architecture frameworks.

Timeline: 2 weeks to 6 months

Nationwide Building Society is a British mutual financial institution, the seventh largest cooperative financial institution and the largest building society in the world with over 16 million members. So it is no surprise that uncovering what digital meant to Nationwide spanned a number of engagements finishing in as little as 2 weeks to fuller six-month programmes aimed at onboarding and upskilling teams.

Gathering insight from stakeholders was always priority. Across all assignments we started with stakeholder workshops to get answers to fundamental questions:

  • What does it mean to be ‘digital’ in the 'digital age' everyone is part of?

  • How can we evolve current ways of working?

  • How can we shape roles to bring the skills needed to succeed?

Slate Delivered

Take a more in depth look at some of the areas Slate helped NBS succeed.

Covid response

Instrumental in delivery of the Covid 19 response - the first bank in the UK to have a digital journey for the Coronavirus mortgage payment break.

Next Gen Banking App

Load times reduced from 16 to sub 1 second. Exactly what you need when building a smart banking app for your smartphone.

NEL - Nationwide Experience Language

NBS spent a lot of time, money and resource recreating existing digital components across hubs and projects. This:

  • Increases their technical debt and stops them moving at pace.

  • Drives up delivery costs.

  • Creates brand inconsistencies, with no clear idea of what brand distinctiveness means in digital

  • Makes it impossible to achieve and maintain quality standards.

  • Results in poor and inconsistent member and colleaque experiences across their digital estate.

Slate helped develop NEL as a shared design and communication framework. It became the foundation for creating legendary digital member and colleague experiences that are distinctly Nationwide.

NEL is a growing set of reusable patterns, templates and guides. Together, they make up the touchpoints and journeys of the NBS digital estate. They can be used again and again, to save time, money and improve consistency and is for everyone to contribute to - and to learn from.


Often people confuse banks for being in the business of money rather than trust. The NBS website creates a connection with members and builds confidence for new and existing users and is one of the most important marketing investments of the society. Slate helped improve design maintaining the company's credibility and re-inforcing the trusted relationship with its members.

Trust is more than just a word

Richard James, Head of Digital Technology and Engineering at Nationwide Building Society, talks about why he trusts us at Slate to accelerate digital change for the organisation.

The partnership between Nationwide Building Society and Slate has been a pleasure and is something we at Slate are very proud to have been a part of.

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