Hanover in as Nationwide targets social housing

Nationwide Building Society has brought in Hanover to boost the profile of its commercial lending arm.

Hanover, formerly Media Strategy, already works with Nationwide on a member engagement programme around the building society’s AGM. But the agency is Nationwide Commercial’s first.

Agency director Scott Learmouth heads the account, reporting to Nationwide Commercial divisional director Mark Jenkins.

Nationwide Commercial is a major UK property lender, with a loan book of £17.9bn. But feels it needs to increase its profile in the property sector and especially wants to gain recognition with British Land and property entrepreneurs.

Hanover will look to position Nationwide as a commentator in the affordable and social housing sector, where it is the country’s biggest lender.

Social housing is generating many newspaper column inches currently, with Prime Minister-in-waiting Gordon Brown already pledging to spend more money in the sector.

Launching his bid for the Labour Party leadership last week, Brown said: ‘We want to build more homes with social housing so there are enough homes for children and we would like to do more shared equity so more people have a share in a property because people want decent housing accommodation.’

Nationwide is looking to tap into this increased coverage, and hopes that Nationwide Commercial will open doors.

Last summer, Nationwide’s head of public affairs, Sarah Atkinson, left the role to join The Charity Commission in an expanded head of comms role. She replaced Antony Robbins who let to join the Department for International Development (PRWeek, 1 July, 2006).

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