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The Case of Nationwide & Portman

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 27 Jul 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Unclaimed Money Unclaimed Funds

Nationwide Building Society is Britain’s second largest mortgage lenders, and highly thought of, to the extent that their figures largely track house prices and sales. It’s one of the giants in the industry, a building society that, in many ways, is as big and as influential as any bank.

Where others have demutualised and become Plcs, Nationwide (which was once called the Co-operative Permanent Building Society) has not, remaining a very large fish in a smaller pond, rather than competing directly against much larger banks.

Nationwide Dormant Accounts

However, its size and position means that Nationwide has literally millions in dormant accounts – they’ve estimated it at £42 million divided between 24,000 dormant accounts. To that end, in 2007 they started an extensive campaign to make people aware of their dormant accounts. Interestingly, but understandably, what they ideally wanted was for people to make those accounts live and active once, more, rather than having them withdraw the money.

They attempted to make mail contact with account holders, and appointed a search agent to try and track down others. The focus was on those whose accounts had had no activity for 15 or more years, meaning that in many instances those people would probably be dead.

As well as attempting to make contact, Nationwide also had a claim form on their website for those who believed they might have a dormant account, but weren’t sure.

Nationwide & Portman

As one of the largest in its field, Nationwide has the money to grow bigger and acquire smaller firms. In 2007 it did this with Portman Building Society, another of the giants among building societies (like Nationwide, it was one of the three biggest) with 1.8 million members.

Portman members had to vote on the matter. 93% of savers were in favour of joining forces with Nationwide, and 92% of those with mortgages.

As a result of this, all Portman members were in line to receive a windfall which would average £445 per person, although real figures were anywhere between £200 and £1000, depending on the size of the accounts.

Inevitably, though, a number of those due money will fail to claim their windfall. Those sums will join others in the Nationwide coffers (no Nationwide account holders will receive any windfall from the takeover), and in a few years there will be attempts to reunite people with heir money.

Although the takeover has been well publicised, some will still forget to claim, others will have moved and not given their new address, a few will believe their money has been lost in the takeover and make no attempt to claim, while some others will just be too lazy to make a claim (hard to believe, perhaps, but statistically true!).

All of that creates problems for Nationwide. The total to be disbursed in the windfall is £500 million, which is a fair amount (Nationwide has £160 billion is assets), and in all likelihood at least £50 million won’t be disbursed.

So, if you have a Portman account or mortgage, make sure you enter your claim and get the money that’s owed to you!

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[Add a Comment]
BS - Your Question:
Iv got 12 building society accounts including the Portman & Nationwide. Iv not moved home. Non of them have ever sent a letter saying the accounts have been made dormant until I contacted them using my lost accounts website.I'm in the process of tracking them down. My lost accounts has been great. Wonder how much money The building society's/banks have gained in non payment of interest and not being forthcoming with the information. Another banking scandal. As always the banks get rich on the backs of the hard working public.

Our Response:
We're glad this has helped you. I'm sure there is a lot of money sitting in unclaimed accounts.
UnclaimedFinances - 5-Apr-17 @ 2:22 PM
Iv got 12 building society accounts including the Portman & Nationwide. Iv not moved home. Non of them have ever sent a letter saying the accounts have been made dormant until I contacted them using my lost accounts website.I'm in the process of tracking them down. My lost accounts has been great. Wonder how much money The building society's/banks have gained in non payment of interest and not being forthcoming with the information. Another banking scandal. As always the banks get rich on the backs of the hard working public.
BS - 5-Apr-17 @ 12:43 AM
Lis - Your Question:
I opened an account many years ago - 134-41833054 - but cannot remember ever having closed it. Recently discovered paperwork suggests there was approximately £100.00 in it. Can you enlighten me please? Many thanks.

Our Response:
You would have to contact My Lost Account via the link here.
UnclaimedFinances - 9-Dec-16 @ 12:43 PM
I opened an account many years ago - 134-41833054 - but cannot remember ever having closed it.Recently discovered paperwork suggests there was approximately £100.00 in it. Can you enlighten me please?Many thanks.
Lis - 9-Dec-16 @ 10:24 AM
my late mother had a portman building society account with £3000.How do I now withdraw the money to pay death duties?
sharon - 18-Aug-16 @ 12:21 PM
I had a portman building society account, how do i claim money
Sophie - 29-Jun-16 @ 9:33 PM
I had a Lambeth Society account that was then taken over by Portman. We moved and I forgot to update them. I now can get access to the original deposit in a Nationwide Account, however, Nationwide are saying that there was no money and therefore no windfall. Can you help as I did speak to someone a few years ago who said that we would be due about £250 windfall but was never told that again.
Jessie - 19-Dec-15 @ 8:15 AM
My Portman mortgage was closed in 2008 however I'm keen to gain further information relating to the account can I still get hold of the details?
freckles - 23-Aug-15 @ 9:31 PM
@hari - I have not heard otherwise, so will have to double check this information. In the meantime you may be able to try My Lost Account, here,if you do not have the details of your account and need it to be traced. I hope this helps.
UnclaimedFinances - 27-Feb-15 @ 3:02 PM
Thank you for your article which prompted me to ring Nationwide about my dormant Portman accounts regarding the Windfall payments that they believe is not valid any more. I have come to a dead end and would appreciate your advise if your article comments are still valid please.
hari - 26-Feb-15 @ 10:40 AM
@Lizzie you may be able to go through My Lost Account which is a free service that helps you trace your lost accounts and savings, link here. I hope this helps.
UnclaimedFinances - 6-Jan-15 @ 11:47 AM
I have been going through some old paperwork and have come across an old Portman Building Society Book Easy Access ISA June 02 I'm not sure if this has been cashed or not, please advise on how I find out Regards Liz
Lizzie - 5-Jan-15 @ 12:52 PM
I have a portman account, I havent used it for a while, I have had no correspondence. I have not moved, how do I sort this out?
Caz - 15-Mar-12 @ 2:50 PM
I have a portman account which has not been updated since 1998 although I have not moved house I do not recollect any correspondence from Nationwide. Please how do I obtain an update as to the current status of the account. Do I take the passbook into a Nationwidw office and would they be able to give me an update.
Moi - 14-Jan-12 @ 10:23 AM
I have 2 Portman Building Society passbooks dating from 1964.Does anyone know how I can make a claim please.I wrote to them last year and they replied "The Limitations Act 1980 gives 6 years in which to bring an action or claim.If they don't bring their action within 6 years, they are barred from doing so" .They don't say howevever when the 6 years commenced.Any help would be appreciated, thank you.
Mosey - 17-Nov-11 @ 3:49 PM
Hi I opened an account with Portman several years ago, I think it would have been in the late 80's.Since then I have moved several times and basically forgotten all about the account, I am unsure if there was any cash in it when I last made a withdrawal all those years ago Question where do i go or whom do I contact to confirm any or all of the above
Hobgoblin - 4-Nov-11 @ 4:26 PM
I have an account with Portman Building Society but my passbook has not been updated since 7 January 2008.I have now came to understand that Portman has merged with Nationwide, unfortunately, I have not received any notification of this merger.Can you please confirm what should I do, I need to update my passbook and also claim for the shares in the new merger.
Lynda - 27-Sep-11 @ 11:38 AM
Good article - So how do I make a claim?
Robert - 9-Jun-11 @ 4:38 PM
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