World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Building society

Article Id: WHEBN0000004776
Reproduction Date:

Title: Building society  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Cooperative banking, Bank, Heart of England Building Society, Nelson Building Society, Dunfermline Building Society
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Building society

A building society is a banking and related financial services, especially savings and mortgage lending. These institutions are found in the United Kingdom (UK) and several other countries.

The term "building society" first arose in the 18th century in Great Britain from cooperative savings groups. In the UK today, building societies actively compete with banks for most consumer banking services, especially mortgage lending and savings accounts.

Every building society in the UK is a member of the Building Societies Association. At the start of 2008, there were 59 building societies in the UK, with total assets exceeding £360 billion.[1] The number of societies in the UK fell by four during 2008 due to a series of mergers brought about, to a large extent, by the consequences of the financial crisis of 2007-2010. With three further mergers in each of 2009 and 2010, and a demutualisation and a merger in 2011, there are now 45 building societies.


The origins of the building society as an institution lie in late-18th century [Birmingham] -a town which was undergoing rapid economic and physical expansion driven by a multiplicity of small metalworking firms, whose many highly skilled and prosperous owners readily invested in property.[2] Many of the early building societies were based in taverns or coffeehouses, which had become the focus for a network of clubs and societies for co-operation and the exchange of ideas among Birmingham's highly active citizenry as part of the movement known as the Midlands Enlightenment.[3] The first building society to be established was Ketley's Building Society, founded by Richard Ketley, the landlord of the Golden Cross inn, in 1775.[4] Members of Ketley's society paid a monthly subscription to a central pool of funds which was used to finance the building of houses for members, which in turn acted as collateral to attract further funding to the society, enabling further construction.[5] By 1781 three more societies had been established in Birmingham, with a fourth in the nearby town of Dudley; and 19 more formed in Birmingham between 1782 and 1795.[6] The first outside the English Midlands was established in Leeds in 1785.[7]

Most of the original societies were fully terminating, where they would be dissolved when all members had a house: the last of them, First Salisbury and District Perfect Thrift Building Society, was wound up in March 1980.[8] In the 1830s and 1840s a new development took place with the permanent building society, where the society continued on a rolling basis, continually taking in new members as earlier ones completed purchases, such as Leek United Building Society. The main legislative framework for the building society was the Building Societies Act 1874, with subsequent amending legislation in 1894, 1939 (see Coney Hall), and 1960.

In their heyday, there were hundreds of building societies: just about every town in the country had a building society named after that town. Over succeeding decades the number of societies has decreased, as various societies merged to form larger ones, often renaming in the process, and other societies opted for demutualisation followed by – in the great majority of cases – eventual takeover by a listed bank. Most of the existing larger building societies are the end result of the mergers of many smaller societies.

1980s and 1990s

In the 1980s, British banking laws were changed to allow building societies to offer banking services equivalent to normal banks. The management of a number of societies still felt that they were unable to compete with the banks, and a new Building Societies Act was passed in 1986 in response to their concerns. This permitted societies to 'demutualise'. If more than 75% of members voted in favour, the building society would then become a limited company like any other. Members' mutual rights were exchanged for shares in this new company. A number of the larger societies made such proposals to their members and all were accepted. Some became independent companies quoted on the London Stock Exchange, others were acquired by larger financial groups.

The process began with the demutualisation of the Abbey National Building Society in 1989. Then, from 1995 to late-1999, eight societies demutualised accounting for two-thirds of building societies assets as at 1994. Five of these societies became joint stock banks (plc), one merged with another and the other four were taken over by plcs (in two cases after the mutual had previously converted to a plc).

As Tayler (2003) refers, demutualisation moves succeeded immediately because neither Conservative nor Labour party UK governments created a framework which put obstacles in the way of demutualisation. Political acquiescence in demutualisation was clearest in the case of the position on 'carpet baggers', that is those who joined societies by lodging minimum amounts of £100 or so in the hope of profiting from a distribution of surplus after demutualisation. The deregulating Building Societies Act 1986 contained an anti-carpet bagger provision in the form of a two-year rule. This prescribed a qualifying period of two years before savers could participate in a residual claim. But, before the 1989 Abbey National Building Society demutualisation, the courts found against the two-year rule after legal action brought by Abbey National itself to circumvent the intent of the legislators. After this the legislation did prevent a cash distribution to members of less than two years standing, but the same result was obtained by permitting the issue of 'free' shares in the acquiring plc, saleable for cash. The Thatcher Conservative government declined to introduce amending legislation to make good the defect in the 'two-year rule'.

Building societies, like mutual life insurers, arose as people clubbed together to address a common need interest; in the case of the building societies, this was housing and members were originally both savers and borrowers. But it very quickly became clear that 'outsider' savers were needed whose motive was profit through interest on deposits. Thus permanent building societies quickly became mortgage banks and in such institutions there always existed a conflict of interest between borrowers and savers. It was the task of the movement to reconcile that conflict of interest so as to enable savers to conclude that their interests and those of borrowers were to some extent complementary rather than conflictive. Conflict of interest between savers and borrowers was never fully reconciled in the building societies but upon deregulation that reconciliation became something of a lost cause. The management of building societies apparently could expend considerable time and resources (which belonged the organisation) planning their effective capture—of as much of the assets as they could. If so, this is arguably insider dealing on a grand scale with the benefit of inside specialist knowledge of the business and resources of the firm not shared with outsiders like politicians and members (and, perhaps, regulators). Once the opportunity to claim was presented by management the savers in particular could be relied upon to seize it. There were sufficient hard up borrowers to take the inducement offered them by management (in spite of few simple sums sufficing to demonstrate that they were probably going to end up effectively paying back the inducement). (Tayler 2003)

Managements promoting demutualisation also thereby met managerial objectives because the end of mutuality brought joint stock company (plc) style remuneration committee pay standards and share options. Share options for management of converting societies appear to be a powerful factor in management calculation. Rasmusen (1988) refers to this in the following terms: " ... perks do not rise in proportion to [mutual] bank size. If a mutual is large, or is expected to grow if it can raise capital by a conversion, its managers derive more value from a conversion but do not suffer much loss of perks than if the bank were small. Their benefit is in the right to purchase the new stock, which are valuable because the new issues are consistently underpriced [referring to USA mutual bank conversions]. Moreover, by no means are all mutual managers incompetent, and conversions allows the bank to expand more easily and to grant executive stock options that are valuable to skilled managers".

Instead of deploying their margin advantage as a defence of mutuality, around 1980 building societies began setting mortgage rates with reference to market clearing levels. In sum they began behaving more like banks, seeking to maximise profit instead of the advantages of a mutual organisation. Thus, according to the Bank of England's Boxall and Gallagher (1997), "... there was virtually no difference between banks and building society 'listed' interest rates for home finance mortgage lending between 1984 and 1997. This behaviour resulted in a return on assets for building societies which was at least as high as Plc banks and, in the absence of distribution, led to rapid accumulation of reserves". As Boxall and Gallagher (1997) also observe; "... accumulation of reserves in the early-1990s, beyond regulatory and future growth requirements, is difficult to reconcile with conventional theories of mutual behaviour".

Llewellyn (1996) draws a rather more direct and cynical conclusion:

By adopting a policy of building up reserves by maintaining an excess margin, building societies simultaneously allowed banks to compete and may have undermined the long run viability of mutuality. A more cynical approach is that some societies may have adopted an excess-margin strategy simply to enhance their value for conversion.

Some of these managements ended up in dispute with their own members. Of the first major conversion of the Abbey in 1989, Kay (1991) observed:

[T]he paradox of the Abbey members who campaigned against flotation [conversion to a Plc bank] of their building society. They were fighting to preserve a degree of accountability to the membership which the management of the Society patently did not feel. For incumbent management, the contrary views of some of their members were not matters to be weighed in the balance and taken account of in formulation of policy. They were a nuisance to be dealt with by the costly use of public relations advisers and legal processes.

In the end, after a number of large demutualisations, and pressure from carpetbaggers moving from one building society to another to cream off the windfalls, most of the remaining societies modified their rules of membership in the late 1990s. The method usually adopted were membership rules to ensure that anyone newly joining a society would, for the first few years, be unable to get any profit out of a demutualisation. With the chance of a quick profit removed, the wave of demutualisations came to an end in 2000.

One academic study (Heffernan, 2003) found that demutualised societies' pricing behaviour on deposits and mortgages was more favourable to shareholders than to customers, with the remaining mutual building societies offering consistently better rates.[9]

2000s and 2010s

The Butterfill Act was passed in 2007 giving building societies greater powers to merge with other companies. These powers have been used by the Britannia in 2009 and Kent Reliance in 2011 leading to their demutualisation.

Prior to 31 December 2010, deposits with building societies of up to £50,000 per individual, per institution, were normally protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), but Nationwide and Yorkshire Building Societies negotiated a temporary change to the terms of the FSCS to protect members of the societies they acquired in late 2008/early 2009. The amended terms allowed former members of multiple societies which merge into one to maintain multiple entitlements to FSCS protection until 30 September 2009 (later extended to 30 December 2010), so (for example) a member with £50,000 in each of Nationwide, Cheshire and Derbyshire at the time of the respective mergers would retain £150,000 of FSCS protection for their funds in the merged Nationwide.[10] On 31 December 2010 the general FSCS limit for retail deposits was increased to £85,000 for banks and building societies and the transitional arrangements in respect of building society mergers came to an end.

List of building societies

United Kingdom


The remaining building societies are:

(Total group assets of building societies)

Source: Building Societies Association[1] updated for subsequent mergers

Name Group assets – latest published figure as at 1 February 2013[11] Former society trading names Provides current account
1 Nationwide Building Society £196,129m Yes
2 Yorkshire Building Society £32,647m Uses the former Norwich & Peterborough, Barnsley, and Chelsea building societies as trading names. Yes
N & P brand only
3 Coventry Building Society[* 1] £24,487m Yes
4 Skipton Building Society[12][13] £13,910m No
5 Leeds Building Society £9,860m Formerly Leeds and Holbeck Building Society. Adopted current name after the un-connected Leeds Permanent Building Society merged with the Halifax Building Society in 1995 Yes
6 West Bromwich Building Society £7,417m No
7 Principality Building Society £6,450m No
8 Newcastle Building Society £4,419m No
9 Nottingham Building Society £2,478m No
10 Progressive Building Society[* 1] £1,655m No
11 Cumberland Building Society £1,549m Yes
12 National Counties Building Society £1,221m No
13 Saffron Building Society £1,086m No
14 Cambridge Building Society £1,001m No
15 Manchester Building Society £878m No
16 Monmouthshire Building Society £819m No
17 Furness Building Society £807m No
18 Leek United Building Society £783m No
19 Newbury Building Society £731m No
20 Hinckley & Rugby Building Society £573m No
21 Darlington Building Society £524m No
22 Ipswich Building Society[* 1] £518m No
23 Market Harborough Building Society £410m No
24 Melton Mowbray Building Society[* 1] £367m No
25 Tipton & Coseley Building Society[* 1] £365m No
26 Scottish Building Society £343m No
27 Hanley Economic Building Society £331m No
28 Marsden Building Society £323m No
29 Dudley Building Society £321m No
30 Loughborough Building Society[* 1] £276m No
31 Mansfield Building Society[* 1] £261m No
32 Bath Building Society £253m No
33 Vernon Building Society £251m No
34 Harpenden Building Society[* 1] £238m No
35 Teachers Building Society £224m No
36 Stafford Railway Building Society[* 1] £216m No
37 Swansea Building Society £181m No
38 Chorley & District Building Society[* 1] £175m No
39 Beverley Building Society[* 1] £174m No
40 Buckinghamshire Building Society[* 1] £172m No
41 Holmesdale Building Society[* 1] £141m No
42 Ecology Building Society[* 1] £103m No
43 Earl Shilton Building Society[* 1] £101m No
44 Penrith Building Society[* 1] £87m No
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p These societies do not form part of a corporate business group, although they may own other businesses.


Ten building societies of the United Kingdom demutualised between 1989 and 2000, either becoming a bank or being acquired by a larger bank.[14][15] By 2008, every building society that floated on the stock market in the wave of demutualisations of the 1980s and 1990s had either been sold to a conventional bank, or been nationalised.[15]
Name Fate Successor Year Current position
Abbey National converted to plc Santander 1989 The new bank, also known as "Abbey", was acquired by Banco Santander & now rebranded as Santander.
Cheltenham and Gloucester was taken over by Lloyds Bank plc 1994 Became part of Lloyds TSB, although C&G still had a branch network which became part of TSB Bank plc in summer 2013.
National & Provincial Building Society was taken over by Abbey National plc 1995 Business merged into Abbey National (now Santander), name no longer used.
Alliance & Leicester converted to plc Santander 1997 Acquired by Banco Santander, which also owns Abbey, in October 2008, and merged into Santander in 2010.
Bristol and West was taken over by the Bank of Ireland 1997 Became a division of Bank of Ireland but its savings balances and branch network transferred to the Britannia Building Society in 2005 (which in turn merged with Co-operative Financial Services in 2009). Bristol & West mortgages ceased trading on 10 January 2009.[16]
Halifax converted to plc 1997 Became part of HBOS in 2001, which itself became part of Lloyds Banking Group in 2009. Trading name still in use.
Northern Rock converted to plc Virgin Money 1997 Nationalised following near bankruptcy in February 2008, due to the 2007 financial crisis. Bought by Virgin Money in January 2012.[17]
The Woolwich converted to plc Barclays 1997 Now part of Barclays plc. Woolwich brand name now only used for mortgages from Barclays with the Woolwich branch network merging with that of Barclays in 2007.
Birmingham Midshires was taken over by Halifax plc 1999 Now owned by Lloyds Banking Group. The brand name is still retained, but running entirely by post and internet.
Bradford & Bingley converted to plc 2000 Nationalisation with sale of savings book to Abbey (now Santander).

No longer exist

The following is an incomplete list of building societies in the United Kingdom that no longer exist independently, since they either merged with or were taken over by other building societies or mutuals.[18] However, they may still have an active presence on the high street (or online) as a trading name or as a distinct brand. This is typically because brands will often build up specific reputations and attract certain clientele, and this can continue to be marketed successfully.

Name Fate Successor Year
Abbey Road Building Society and
National Building Society
merged to form the Abbey National Building Society in 1944
Bingley Permanent Building Society and
Bradford Equitable Building Society
merged to form the Bradford & Bingley Building Society in 1964
Co-operative Permanent Building Society changed its name to Nationwide Building Society in 1970
Leicester Permanent Building Society and
Leicester Temperance Building Society
merged to form the Leicester Building Society in 1974
Bedfordshire Building Society and
Temperance Permanent
merged to form Gateway Building Society in 1974[19][20]
Leek & Westbourne Building Society and
Oldbury Britannia Building Society
merged to form Britannia Building Society in 1975
Huddersfield & Bradford Building Society and
West Yorkshire Building Society
merged to form Yorkshire Building Society in 1982
Coventry Economic Building Society and
Coventry Provident Building Society
merged to form the Coventry Building Society in 1983
Burnley Building Society and
Provincial Building Society
merged to form the National & Provincial Building Society in 1984
London Permanent Building Society (est 1914) merged into Cheltenham and Gloucester in 1984
Alliance Building Society and
Leicester Building Society
merged to form the Alliance & Leicester Building Society in 1985
Waltham Abbey Building Society (1847) merged with the Cheltenham and Gloucester Building Society in 1985
Birmingham & Bridgwater Building Society and
Midshires Building Society
merged to form the Birmingham Midshires Building Society in 1986
Norwich Building Society and
Peterborough Building Society
merged to form the Norwich & Peterborough Building Society in 1986
Anglia Building Society and
Nationwide Building Society
merged to form
which changed name to the
Nationwide Anglia Building Society
Nationwide Building Society
in 1987
in 1991
Gateway Building Society and
Woolwich Equitable Building Society
merged to form the Woolwich Building Society in 1988
Wessex Building Society and
Portman Building Society
merged to form the Portman Wessex Building Society in 1989
Regency & West of England Building Society and
Portman Wessex Building Society
merged to form Portman Building Society in 1990
Hendon Building Society was taken over by Bradford & Bingley Building Society in 1991
Haywards Heath Building Society merged with the Yorkshire Building Society in 1992
Cheshunt Building Society merged with the Bristol and West Building Society in 1992
Heart of England Building Society merged with the Cheltenham & Gloucester Building Society in 1993
St. Pancras Building Society merged with the Portman Building Society in 1993
Leeds Permanent Building Society merged with the Halifax Building Society in 1995
City & Metropolitan Building Society merged with the Stroud & Swindon Building Society in 1996
Nottingham Imperial Building Society merged with the Newcastle Building Society in 2000
Gainsborough Building Society merged with the Yorkshire Building Society in 2001
Ilkeston Permanent Building Society merged with the Derbyshire Building Society in 2001
Clay Cross Building Society merged with the Derbyshire Building Society in 2003
Staffordshire Building Society merged with the Portman Building Society in 2003
Lambeth Building Society merged with the Portman Building Society in 2006
Mercantile Building Society merged with the Leeds Building Society in 2006
Universal Building Society merged with the Newcastle Building Society in 2006
Portman Building Society merged with the Nationwide Building Society in 2007
Cheshire Building Society merged with the Nationwide Building Society in 2008
Derbyshire Building Society merged with the Nationwide Building Society in 2008
Barnsley Building Society merged with the Yorkshire Building Society in 2008
Catholic Building Society merged with the Chelsea Building Society in 2008
Scarborough Building Society merged with the Skipton Building Society in 2009
Dunfermline Building Society most assets and liabilities
transferred to
Nationwide Building Society in 2009
Britannia Building Society acquired by The Co-operative Bank in 2009[21]
Chelsea Building Society merged with the Yorkshire Building Society in 2010
Chesham Building Society merged with the Skipton Building Society in 2010
Kent Reliance Building Society acquired by OneSavings Plc to form OneSavings Bank in 2011
Norwich and Peterborough Building Society merged with the Yorkshire Building Society in 2011
Century Building Society merged with the Scottish Building Society in 2013
Shepshed Building Society merged with the Nottingham Building Society in 2013
City of Derry Building Society merged with the Progressive Building Society in 2014


In Australia, building societies evolved along British lines. Because of strict regulations on banks, building societies flourished until the deregulation of the Australian financial industry in the 1980s. Eventually many of the smaller building societies disappeared, while some of the largest (such as Heritage Bank which converted from building society to bank in 2011, Hume in 2014, while Wide Bay Building Society became Auswide Bank and IMB followed suit in 2015. Building societies converting to banks are no longer required to demutualise.

A particular difference between Australian building societies and those elsewhere, is that Australian building societies are required to incorporate as limited companies.

Current building societies are


The Republic of Ireland had around 40 building societies at the mid-20th century peak.[22] Many of these were very small and, as the Irish commercial banks began to originate residential mortgages, the small building societies ceased to be competitive. Most merged or dissolved or, in the case of First Active plc, converted into conventional banks. The last remaining building societies, EBS Building Society and Irish Nationwide Building Society, demutualised and were transferred or acquired into Bank subsidiaries in 2011 following the effects of the Irish financial crisis.

Leeds Building Society Ireland and Nationwide UK (Ireland) are Irish branches of building societies based in the United Kingdom.

Name Demutualised Successor
Irish Industrial Benefit Building Society (1873–1969)

Irish Industrial Building Society (1969–1975)
Irish Nationwide Building Society (1975 – Feb 2011)

acquired Irish Mutual Building Society, 1989
formerly Allied Irish Building Society(−1976)
acquired Garda Building Society, 1983
acquired Metropolitan Building Society, 1991
February 2011 deposit book Irish Life & Permanent plc / permanent tsb (February 2011 – June 2011)

loan book Anglo Irish Bank (February 2011 – June 2011)
Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (Jul 2011 - February 2013[23])

Educational Building Society (1935−1991)
acquired The Family Building Society, 1975

EBS Building Society (1991–2011)

acquired Midland and Western Building Society, 1994
acquired Norwich Irish Building Society, 1998
July 2011 EBS Limited, subsidiary of Allied Irish Banks
Irish Temperance Permanent Building Society (−1888)

Irish Permanent Benefit Building Society (1888–1940)
Irish Permanent Building Society (1940–1994)

acquired Provident Building Society, 1974
acquired Cork Mutual Building Society, 1975
acquired Munster & Leinster Building Society, 1978
acquired Guinness & Mahon, 1994
1994 Irish Permanent plc (1994–1999)

Irish Life & Permanent plc (1999–)
merged with TSB Bank, 2001
Irish Life & Permanent plc / permanent tsb

Irish Civil Services and General Building Society (1864–1867)

Irish Civil Service and General (Permanent Benefit) Building Society (1867–1874)
Irish Civil Service (Permanent) Building Society (1874–1969)

acquired City and County Permanent Benefit Building Society, 1932

Irish Civil Service Building Society (1969–1984)

acquired O'Connell Benefit Building Society, 1983
1984 subsidiary of Bank of Ireland
renamed ICS Building Society (1986)
Workingman's Benefit Building Society (−1960)

First National Building Society (1960–1998)

acquired Grafton Savings and Building Society, 1974
acquired The Guinness Permanent Building Society, 1984
acquired Ireland Benefit Building Society, 1984
acquired Postal Service Permanent Building Society, 1985
acquired Irish Life Building Society, 1993
1998 First Active plc (1998–2004)

acquired by RBS 2004 and merged into Ulster Bank 2009

Society closures

  • Ballygall Building Society, 1977
  • City and Provincial Building Society, 1978
  • Dublin Model Building Society, 1984
  • Dublin Savings Building Society, 1977
  • Four Provinces Building Society, 1978
  • Independent Building Society, 1977
  • Irish Savings Building Society, 1984
  • National Provincial Building Society, 1977
  • Progressive Building Society, 1977
  • West of Ireland Building Society, 1977


In Jamaica, three building societies compete with commercial banks and credit unions for most consumer financial services:[24]

  • Jamaica National Building Society
  • Victoria Mutual Building Society
  • Scotia Jamaica Building Society

New Zealand


In New Zealand, building societies are registered with the Registrar of Building Societies under the Building Societies Act 1965. Registration as a building society is merely a process of establishing the entity as a corporation. It is largely a formality, and easily achieved, as the capital requirement is minimal (20 members must be issued shares of not less than NZ$1,000 each, for a total minimum foundation share capital of NZ$200,000),[25] and as the registration process does not involve any prudential screening.

As regards prudential supervision, a divide exists between building societies that operate in New Zealand, on the one hand, and those that (although formally registered in New Zealand) operate offshore:

  • Building societies that accept deposits from members of the public in New Zealand are regulated as "non-bank deposit takers" under the Non-bank Deposit Takers Act 2013. Such building societies must (unless they qualify for a particular exemption) comply with the prudential regulations. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand monitors compliance with the prudential regulations, but does not prudentially supervise individual building societies for financial soundness. Most such building societies are supervised for compliance with the terms of their debt securities by trustees appointed under securities legislation, and those trustees have various reporting requirements to the Reserve Bank.
  • Building societies that accept deposits only from offshore customers are not regulated under the Non-bank Deposit Takers Act 2013 or New Zealand's financial markets legislation. Consequently, they are not prudentially monitored by the Reserve Bank or by the Financial Markets Authority. The Reserve Bank cautions on its website that it does not monitor transactions undertaken by New Zealand registered building societies operating in overseas markets.[26]

Building societies' registration details and filed documents are available in the Register of Building Societies held at the New Zealand Companies Office. The Register can be searched here.

Individual building societies

Over the years, a number of building societies were established.

Some, including Countrywide Building Society and United Building Society, became banks in the 1980s and 1990s. Heartland Building Society (created in 2011 through a merger of Canterbury Building Society, Southern Cross Building Society, and two other financial institutions) became Heartland Bank on 17 December 2012.

Remaining building societies include:

  • General Equity Building Society (the Financial Markets Authority has issued an extreme caution in relation to General Equity,[27] warning that General Equity is not a licensed financial market participant, is not subject to prudential requirements, and is not regulated as a bank or non-bank deposit taker in New Zealand)
  • Heretaunga Building Society
  • Kiwi Deposit Building Society (currently in the process of dissolution)[28]
  • Manawatu Permanent Building Society
  • Nelson Building Society
  • Southland Building Society, which in October 2008 became a registered bank known as SBS Bank. However, it remains a building society and retains its mutual structure. Hastings Building Society merged with SBS Bank in October 2010, but with the Hastings Building Society brand continuing to operate as a building society under the name of HBS Bank.
  • The Napier Building Society (Permanent)
  • Wairarapa Building Society.


In Zimbabwe, Central Africa Building Society (CABS) is the leading building society offering a diverse range of financial products and services that include transaction and savings accounts, mobile banking, mortgage loans, money market investments, term deposits and pay-roll loans.

Similar organisations in other countries

In other countries there are mutual organisations similar to building societies:

  • Austria: In Austria there are four co-operative banks: Allgemeine Bausparkasse (ABV), Raiffeisen-Bausparkasse, Bausparkasse Wüstenrot AG and Bausparkasse der Sparkassen (savings bank).
  • Germany: In Germany there are 11 Bausparkassen der Sparkassen (savings bank) named Landesbausparkassen (LBS) and 15 Bausparkassen of the private banks, for example Schwäbisch Hall, Wüstenrot, Deutsche Bank Bauspar AG and so on.

Operational differences from banks

Roll numbers

Because most building societies were not direct members of the UK clearing system, it was common for them to use a roll number to identify accounts rather than to allocate a six-digit sort-code and eight-digit account number to the BACS standards.

More recently, building societies have tended to obtain sort-code and account number allocations within the clearing system, and hence the use of roll numbers has diminished. When using BACS, one needs to enter roll numbers for the reference field and the building society's generic sort code and account number would be entered in the standard BACS fields.[29]

See also


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ ;
  3. ^ ;
  4. ^ ;
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ Building societies ranked by asset size Building Societies Association. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
  12. ^ Merger of Skipton Building Society and Scarborough Building Society . Retrieved 29 November 2008.
  13. ^ Chesham Building Society AGM 31 March 2010 Chesham BS website Accessed, 1 April 2010
  14. ^ Building Society Takeovers and Flotations Building Societies Association website . Retrieved 5 April 2007.
  15. ^ a b
  16. ^ After 158 years, the end is nigh for Bristol & West, the Guardian, 10. January 2009
  17. ^ Northern Rock Company Information – Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  18. ^ Building Society Mergers and Conversions since 1980 Building Societies Association website . Retrieved 5 April 2007.
  19. ^
  20. ^ The Temperance Permanent was so-called because the directors were required to sign the pledge, a requirement which was dropped with the merger and name-change – to the reported dismay of some members. [The Times, Friday, 25 April 1975; pg. 4; Issue 59379; col E, 'Temperance abandoned by building society'. Retrieved from InfoTrac on 17 July 2008].
  21. ^ Britannia and Co-operative Financial Services unveil plans for super-mutual (Retrieved 22 January 2009) Archived June 27, 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^
  23. ^ Irish Bank Resolution Corporation
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^

Further reading

  • Llewellyn, D. and Holmes, M. (1991) "In Defence of Mutuality: A Redress to an Emerging Conventional Wisdom", Annals of Public and Co-operative Economics, Vol.62(3): pp. 319–354 (p. 327).
  • Rasmusen, E. (1988) "Mutual banks and stock banks", Journal of Law and Economics, October, Vol.31: pp. 395–421 (p. 412).
  • Kay, J. (1991) "The Economics of Mutuality", Annals of Public and Co-operative Economics, Vol.62(3): pp. 309–317 (p. 317).
  • Boxall, A. and Gallagher, N. (1997) "Mutuality at the Cross Roads", Financial Stability Review, Issue 3: pp. 105–117 (p. 112).
  • Llewellyn, D. (1996) "Some Reflections on the Mutuality v. Conversion Debate", Journal of Co-operative Studies, September, Vol.29(2): pp. 57–71 (p. 61).
  • Tayler, G. (2003) "UK Building Society Demutualisation Motives", Business Ethics: A European Review,Vol.12(4): pp. 394–402.

External links

  • Building Societies Association
  • The History of Building Societies from the Building Societies Association website.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.