Nationwide’s rules left me unable to use my power of attorney

I had to register it with their team, but they couldn’t do that because my mother’s account was closed

My mother has dementia and now lives in a care home, so I have a power of attorney (POA) to manage her finances.

She had a cash Isa with Nationwide Building Society which matured in August and, despite my efforts, we have still not received the closure cheque for £15,240. This is my mother’s money and we need it to pay for her care in the medium term.

At first, Nationwide would not speak to me or answer my letters and emails because they said I needed to register the POA with their specialist team. However, they could not do this because the account is closed and there are no others in her name.

My mother’s post is redirected to my address and I need to know if a cheque was issued by Nationwide and, if it was, what has happened to it. My mother can’t sort this out herself.

But like many organisations, Nationwide is difficult to deal with. They don’t answer letters and emails, take ages to answer the phone and do not publish useful information on their website. I have raised a formal complaint but can you help?

JT, Cockermouth

You found yourself in a catch-22 situation because you could not register your POA with Nationwide as your mother’s only account with it had been closed. The matter was complicated by the building society’s use of your mother’s old address and the mysterious disappearance of the cheque in the post.

Nationwide says: “Unfortunately, the power of attorney and address changes weren’t actioned alongside the Isa maturity instructions. This meant that when the cheque didn’t arrive, our member’s daughter was unable to speak to us to resolve the matter. We have now cancelled the original cheque and sent the funds directly to the daughter’s account. We have also contacted her to apologise that her experience fell below our usual high standards and have offered her £200 compensation, which she has accepted.”

You are relieved that this problem is resolved but point out that your mother is one of many whose affairs are being managed by a relative and complain that Nationwide failed to engage with you. You are glad not to have to deal with them again and will donate the £200 to charity.

We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email us at or write to Consumer Champions, Money, the Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Please include a daytime phone number. Submission and publication of all letters is subject to our terms and conditions


Zoe Wood

The GuardianTramp

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