Building society
Overview
 
A building society is a financial institution
Financial institution
In financial economics, a financial institution is an institution that provides financial services for its clients or members. Probably the most important financial service provided by financial institutions is acting as financial intermediaries...

 owned by its members as a mutual organization
Mutual organization
A mutual, mutual organization, or mutual society is an organization based on the principle of mutuality. Unlike a true cooperative, members usually do not contribute to the capital of the company by direct investment, but derive their right to profits and votes through their customer relationship...

. Building societies offer banking and related financial services
Financial services
Financial services refer to services provided by the finance industry. The finance industry encompasses a broad range of organizations that deal with the management of money. Among these organizations are credit unions, banks, credit card companies, insurance companies, consumer finance companies,...

, especially mortgage lending
Mortgage loan
A mortgage loan is a loan secured by real property through the use of a mortgage note which evidences the existence of the loan and the encumbrance of that realty through the granting of a mortgage which secures the loan...

. These institutions are found in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 (UK) and several other countries.

The term "building society" first arose in the 18th century in Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

 from cooperative savings
Cooperative banking
Cooperative banking is retail and commercial banking organized on a cooperative basis. Cooperative banking institutions take deposits and lend money in most parts of the world....

 groups. In the UK today, building societies actively compete with bank
Bank
A bank is a financial institution that serves as a financial intermediary. The term "bank" may refer to one of several related types of entities:...

s for most consumer banking services, especially mortgage lending and deposits
Deposit account
A deposit account is a current account, savings account, or other type of bank account, at a banking institution that allows money to be deposited and withdrawn by the account holder. These transactions are recorded on the bank's books, and the resulting balance is recorded as a liability for the...

.

Every building society in the UK is a member of the Building Societies Association
Building Societies Association
The Building Societies Association is the trade organisation of the building societies in the United Kingdom. In 2011 the 48 building societies in the UK had total assets of over £317 billion. 15 million adults have building society saving accounts and over 2.9 million adults are currently buying...

.
Encyclopedia
A building society is a financial institution
Financial institution
In financial economics, a financial institution is an institution that provides financial services for its clients or members. Probably the most important financial service provided by financial institutions is acting as financial intermediaries...

 owned by its members as a mutual organization
Mutual organization
A mutual, mutual organization, or mutual society is an organization based on the principle of mutuality. Unlike a true cooperative, members usually do not contribute to the capital of the company by direct investment, but derive their right to profits and votes through their customer relationship...

. Building societies offer banking and related financial services
Financial services
Financial services refer to services provided by the finance industry. The finance industry encompasses a broad range of organizations that deal with the management of money. Among these organizations are credit unions, banks, credit card companies, insurance companies, consumer finance companies,...

, especially mortgage lending
Mortgage loan
A mortgage loan is a loan secured by real property through the use of a mortgage note which evidences the existence of the loan and the encumbrance of that realty through the granting of a mortgage which secures the loan...

. These institutions are found in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 (UK) and several other countries.

The term "building society" first arose in the 18th century in Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

 from cooperative savings
Cooperative banking
Cooperative banking is retail and commercial banking organized on a cooperative basis. Cooperative banking institutions take deposits and lend money in most parts of the world....

 groups. In the UK today, building societies actively compete with bank
Bank
A bank is a financial institution that serves as a financial intermediary. The term "bank" may refer to one of several related types of entities:...

s for most consumer banking services, especially mortgage lending and deposits
Deposit account
A deposit account is a current account, savings account, or other type of bank account, at a banking institution that allows money to be deposited and withdrawn by the account holder. These transactions are recorded on the bank's books, and the resulting balance is recorded as a liability for the...

.

Every building society in the UK is a member of the Building Societies Association
Building Societies Association
The Building Societies Association is the trade organisation of the building societies in the United Kingdom. In 2011 the 48 building societies in the UK had total assets of over £317 billion. 15 million adults have building society saving accounts and over 2.9 million adults are currently buying...

. At the start of 2008, there were 59 building societies in the UK, with total assets exceeding £360 billion. 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, the current number of building societies is at 47.

History

The origins of the building society as an institution lie in late-18th century Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

 – 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. Many of the early building societies were based in tavern
Tavern
A tavern is a place of business where people gather to drink alcoholic beverages and be served food, and in some cases, where travelers receive lodging....

s or coffeehouse
Coffeehouse
A coffeehouse or coffee shop is an establishment which primarily serves prepared coffee or other hot beverages. It shares some of the characteristics of a bar, and some of the characteristics of a restaurant, but it is different from a cafeteria. As the name suggests, coffeehouses focus on...

s, 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
Midlands Enlightenment
The Midlands Enlightenment, also known as the West Midlands Enlightenment or the Birmingham Enlightenment, was a cultural manifestation of the Age of Enlightenment that developed in Birmingham and the wider English Midlands during the second half of the eighteenth century.At the core of the...

. The first building society to be established was Ketley's Building Society
Ketley's Building Society
Ketley's Building Society, founded in Birmingham, England in 1775, was the world's first building society.The society was formed by Richard Ketley, the landlord at the "Golden Cross" inn at 60 Snow Hill...

, founded by Richard Ketley, the landlord of the Golden Cross inn, in 1775. 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
Collateral (finance)
In lending agreements, collateral is a borrower's pledge of specific property to a lender, to secure repayment of a loan.The collateral serves as protection for a lender against a borrower's default - that is, any borrower failing to pay the principal and interest under the terms of a loan obligation...

 to attract further funding to the society, enabling further construction. By 1781 three more societies had been established in Birmingham, with a fourth in the nearby town of Dudley
Dudley
Dudley is a large town in the West Midlands county of England. At the 2001 census , the Dudley Urban Sub Area had a population of 194,919, making it the 26th largest settlement in England, the second largest town in the United Kingdom behind Reading, and the largest settlement in the UK without...

; and 19 more formed in Birmingham between 1782 and 1795. The first outside the English Midlands
English Midlands
The Midlands, or the English Midlands, is the traditional name for the area comprising central England that broadly corresponds to the early medieval Kingdom of Mercia. It borders Southern England, Northern England, East Anglia and Wales. Its largest city is Birmingham, and it was an important...

 was established in Leeds
Leeds
Leeds is a city and metropolitan borough in West Yorkshire, England. In 2001 Leeds' main urban subdivision had a population of 443,247, while the entire city has a population of 798,800 , making it the 30th-most populous city in the European Union.Leeds is the cultural, financial and commercial...

 in 1785.

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, was wound up in March 1980. 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
Leek United Building Society
The Leek United Building Society is a building society based in Leek, Staffordshire, England. It is the 18th largest in the UK based on total assets of £735 million at 1 February 2011. The Society has 12 branches across Staffordshire. It is a member of the Building Societies...

. The main legislative framework for the Building Society was the Building Society Act of 1874, with subsequent amending legislation in 1894, 1939 (see Coney Hall
Coney Hall
Coney Hall is a suburban district, centred on the Coney Hill Estate, part of West Wickham in the London Borough of Bromley, England.The typical architecture comprises two-storey houses with polygonal bay windows and half-timbered gables....

), 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 bank
Bank
A bank is a financial institution that serves as a financial intermediary. The term "bank" may refer to one of several related types of entities:...

s. The management of a number of societies still felt that they were unable to compete with the banks, and a new Building Societies Act
Building Societies Act 1986
The Building Societies Act 1986 is an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom governing building societies...

 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
Limited company
A limited company is a company in which the liability of the members or subscribers of the company is limited to what they have invested or guaranteed to the company. Limited companies may be limited by shares or by guarantee. And the former of these, a limited company limited by shares, may be...

 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
London Stock Exchange
The London Stock Exchange is a stock exchange located in the City of London within the United Kingdom. , the Exchange had a market capitalisation of US$3.7495 trillion, making it the fourth-largest stock exchange in the world by this measurement...

, 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 Plc’s (in two cases after the mutual had previously converted to a Plc).

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 1986 Building Societies Act 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 in order 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.

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).

Managements promoting demutualization 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".

The management of building societies apparently could expend considerable of what is actually the organization's time and resources 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).

Instead of deploying their margin advantage as a defence of mutuality, from 1980 building societies, in behaving like profit maximising banks, set mortgage rates with reference to market clearing levels. 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-1990's, 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;
" ... the 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.

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
Britannia Building Society
The Britannia is a financial services institution and trading name of the Co-operative Bank Plc in the United Kingdom.Before the merger with the Co-operative, Britannia was a mutual building society, with headquarters in Leek, Staffordshire...

 in 2009 and Kent Reliance
Kent Reliance Building Society
Kent Reliance Banking service, also known as KRBS, was a building society based in Kent, England. Incorporating the Chatham Reliance , Dover District , Herne Bay and Kent & Canterbury , KRBS was the fastest growing building society in the UK between 2003 and 2008 and was a member of the Building...

 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
Financial Services Compensation Scheme
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme is a "statutory fund of last resort" in the United Kingdom, set up under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 to compensate customers of "authorised financial services firms" in the event of their insolvency. It consolidated previous compensation...

 (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. 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.

Current

The remaining building societies are:

(Total group assets of building societies) Source: Building Societies Association
Building Societies Association
The Building Societies Association is the trade organisation of the building societies in the United Kingdom. In 2011 the 48 building societies in the UK had total assets of over £317 billion. 15 million adults have building society saving accounts and over 2.9 million adults are currently buying...

 updated for subsequent mergers and the administration of Dunfermline Building Society
Dunfermline Building Society
The Dunfermline Building Society is a building society based in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland. It was the largest building society in Scotland and the 12th largest in the United Kingdom based on total assets of £3.3 billion at 31 December 2007...


Name Group Assets - latest
published figure as
at 1 February 2011
Notes Provides Current Account
1 Nationwide Building Society
Nationwide Building Society
Nationwide Building Society is a British building society, and is the largest in the world. It has its headquarters in Swindon, England, and maintains significant administration centres in Bournemouth and Northampton...

£191,397m Uses the former Dunfermline
Dunfermline Building Society
The Dunfermline Building Society is a building society based in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland. It was the largest building society in Scotland and the 12th largest in the United Kingdom based on total assets of £3.3 billion at 31 December 2007...

, Cheshire
Cheshire Building Society
The Cheshire Building Society is a former building society based in Macclesfield, Cheshire, England. Prior to the merger with the Nationwide Building Society it was the 11th largest in the United Kingdom based on total assets of £5.0 billion at 31 December 2007. It is a member of the Building...

 and Derbyshire
Derbyshire Building Society
Derbyshire Building Society is a former UK building society based in Duffield, Derbyshire in the East Midlands of England. With effect from 1 December 2008 it was acquired by Nationwide Building Society and now operates as a trading division of Nationwide...

 building societies as trading names.
Yes
2 Yorkshire Building Society
Yorkshire Building Society
The Yorkshire Building Society is the second largest building society in the UK, with its headquarters in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. Assets now exceed £20 billion....

£40,383m Uses the former Barnsley
Barnsley Building Society
Barnsley Building Society was established on 12 January 1853, by a group of prominent townsfolk who following the example of many other towns and cities at the time decided to form their own building society.- History :...

, Chelsea
Chelsea Building Society
Chelsea Building Society was the fourth largest Building Society in the United Kingdom with total assets in excess of £13 billion at 31 December 2007 . It is a member of the Building Societies Association. Operating mainly in South East England with its network of 35 branches, its head office is...

 and Norwich & Peterborough (N & P) building societies as trading names.
Yes- Under the N & P brand
3 Coventry Building Society
Coventry Building Society
The Coventry Building Society is a building society based in Coventry, England. It is the third largest in the United Kingdom with total assets of approximately £22.3 billion at 31 December 2010. It is a member of the Building Societies Association.-History:...

*
£21,139m Uses the former Stroud & Swindon
Stroud & Swindon Building Society
Stroud & Swindon Building Society was the 10th largest building society in the United Kingdom, with headquarters in Stroud, Gloucestershire and total assets of £2.7 billion as at 31 December 2009...

 Building Society as a trading name.
Yes
4 Skipton Building Society
Skipton Building Society
The Skipton Building Society is a building society in the United Kingdom . It is a member of the Building Societies Association....

£15,800m Merged with Scarborough Building Society
Scarborough Building Society
Scarborough Building Society was a UK building society, which had its headquarters in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, England. Scarborough Building Society was formed in May 1846 - It was a member of the Building Societies Association....

 in March 2009 and Chesham Building Society
Chesham Building Society
The Chesham Building Society was a building society based in the market town of Chesham in Buckinghamshire, England which merged with the Skipton Building Society on 1 June 2010. Prior to the merger it was the 37th largest building society in the United Kingdom based on its total assets of £231...

 in June 2010.
No
5 Leeds Building Society
Leeds Building Society
Leeds Building Society was established as the Leeds and Holbeck Building Society in 1875 and is now the 5th largest in the UK and serves approximately 650,000 customers. The society was renamed to Leeds Building Society in September 2005. It has 70 branches across the UK, with 29 located in...

£9,545m Yes
6 West Bromwich Building Society
West Bromwich Building Society
West Bromwich Building Society is a UK building society, with its headquarters in West Bromwich, in the West Midlands of England. It is a member of the Building Societies Association. It was the official club sponsor of West Bromwich Albion F.C...

£8,336m No
7 Principality Building Society
Principality Building Society
Principality is a Welsh building society based in Cardiff, the capital of Wales. With assets of just under £6bn it is the largest building society in Wales and the seventh largest in the United Kingdom. Principality Building Society is mutual, which means it is owned by its members rather than...

£6,219m No
8 Newcastle Building Society
Newcastle Building Society
The Newcastle Building Society is a UK building society that has its head office in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. It is a member of the Building Societies Association.-History:...

£4,620m No
9 Nottingham Building Society
Nottingham Building Society
Nottingham Building Society is a building society founded in 1849 by a group led by Samuel Fox , a Quaker and prominent local grocer....

£2,600m No
10 Progressive Building Society
Progressive Building Society
The Progressive Building Society was founded in 1914 in Belfast, and operates 12 branches across Northern Ireland. It currently sponsors the weather on UTV. It is a member of the Building Societies Association.-External links:***...

*
£1,664m No
11 Cumberland Building Society
Cumberland Building Society
The Cumberland Building Society was established on 16 April 1850 as the Cumberland Co-operative Land and Benefit Building Society. It has its headquarters in Carlisle, Cumbria, England...

 
£1,574m Yes
12 National Counties Building Society
National Counties Building Society
The National Counties Building Society is a UK building society, which has its head office in Epsom, Surrey. It is a member of the Building Societies Association....

 
£1,246m No
13 Manchester Building Society
Manchester Building Society
The Manchester Building Society is a building society, which has its head office in Manchester, England. Its head office and only branch in Manchester City Centre at 125 Portland Street and it has many agencies around the country operating on its behalf. It is a member of the Building Societies...

 
£937m No
14 Cambridge Building Society
Cambridge Building Society
The Cambridge Building Society is a UK building society based in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England. It is the 23rd largest in the United Kingdom based on total assets of £844 million at 31 December 2007. It is a member of the Building Societies Association....

 
£904m No
15 Furness Building Society
Furness Building Society
The Furness Building Society is a UK building society, which has its headquarters in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. It is the 17th largest in the United Kingdom based on total assets of £813 million as at 31 December 2010...

 
£843m No
16 Saffron Building Society
Saffron Building Society
TheSaffron Building Society is a regional building society which has branches and agencies in the East of England. These span: Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Suffolk and London. It is a member of the Building Societies Association.-History:...

 
£836m No
17 Leek United Building Society
Leek United Building Society
The Leek United Building Society is a building society based in Leek, Staffordshire, England. It is the 18th largest in the UK based on total assets of £735 million at 1 February 2011. The Society has 12 branches across Staffordshire. It is a member of the Building Societies...

 
£735m No
18 Monmouthshire Building Society
Monmouthshire Building Society
The Monmouthshire Building Society is a Welsh building society, which has its head office at Monmouthshire House in the city of Newport, South Wales. It is a founder member of the Building Societies Association.-History:...

 
£692m No
19 Newbury Building Society
Newbury Building Society
Newbury Building Society is a building society based in Newbury, Berkshire in the south of England. 'The Newbury' was established in 1856 and is one of the oldest surviving building societies in the United Kingdom...

 
£675m No
20 Hinckley & Rugby Building Society
Hinckley & Rugby Building Society
The Hinckley and Rugby Building Society was formed in 1983 by the merger of Hinckley Permanent Building Society, which was founded in 1865, and Rugby Provident Building Society, which was established in 1861. It is the 21st largest in the United Kingdom based on total assets of £644 million as at...

 
£644m No
21 Darlington Building Society
Darlington Building Society
The Darlington Building Society is a UK building society, which has its head office in Darlington, County Durham, England. It is a member of the Building Societies Association.-External links:***...

 
£583m No
22 Ipswich Building Society
Ipswich Building Society
The Ipswich Building Society is a UK building society based in Ipswich, Suffolk. It is a member of the Building Societies Association.-External links:***...

*
£462m No
23 Market Harborough Building Society
Market Harborough Building Society
The Market Harborough Building Society is a UK building society, which has its headquarters in Market Harborough, Leicestershire. It is a member of the Building Societies Association.-External links:***...

 
£417m No
24 Melton Mowbray Building Society
Melton Mowbray Building Society
The Melton Mowbray Building Society is a UK building society based in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire. It is a member of the Building Societies Association. The Melton Mowbray Building Society also bought out Praxis, a mortgage packager based in Birmingham in 2007-External links:***...

*
£410m No
25 Marsden Building Society
Marsden Building Society
The Marsden Building Society is a UK building society, which has its head office in Nelson, Lancashire. It is a member of the Building Societies Association.-External links:***...

 
£356m No
26 Tipton & Coseley Building Society
Tipton & Coseley Building Society
The Tipton & Coseley Building Society is a UK building society, which has its head office in Tipton, West Midlands. It is a member of the Building Societies Association...

*
£350m No
27 Hanley Economic Building Society
Hanley Economic Building Society
The Hanley Economic Building Society is a UK building society, which has its head office in Hanley, Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire. It is the 32nd largest in the United Kingdom based on total assets of £363 million as at 31 August 2008. It is a member of the Building Societies Association.-External...

 
£335m No
28 Scottish Building Society
Scottish Building Society
The Scottish Building Society is a building society based in Edinburgh, Scotland. It is the 2nd largest building society based in the country and the 42nd largest in the United Kingdom based on total assets of £259 million at 31 January 2008...

 
£327m No
29 Dudley Building Society
Dudley Building Society
The Dudley Building Society is a UK building society, which has its head office in Dudley, West Midlands. It is a member of the Building Societies Association.-External links:**...

 
£313m No
30 Loughborough Building Society
Loughborough Building Society
The Loughborough Building Society is a UK building society, which has its head office in Loughborough, Leicestershire. It is a member of the Building Societies Association.-External links:***...

*
£274m No
31 Mansfield Building Society
Mansfield Building Society
The Mansfield Building Society is a UK building society, which has its headquarters in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. It is a member of the Building Societies Association.-External links:***...

*
£274m No
32 Teachers Building Society
Teachers Building Society
The Teachers Building Society is a British building society. It was founded in 1966 by the National Union of Teachers and provides mortgages to people who work in education as well as savings products to the general public...

 
£257m No
33 Bath Investment & Building Society
Bath Investment & Building Society
Bath Investment & Building Society is a UK building society, which has its headquarters in Bath, England. It is the 45th largest in the United Kingdom based on total assets of £190 million as at 31 December 2007. It is a member of the Building Societies Association.-External links:***...

 
£252m No
34 Vernon Building Society
Vernon Building Society
The Vernon Building Society is a UK building society based in Stockport, Greater Manchester. It is a member of the Building Societies Association.-External links:***...

 
£246m No
35 Harpenden Building Society
Harpenden Building Society
The Harpenden Building Society is a UK building society, which has its head office in Harpenden, Hertfordshire. Formed on 3 March 1953, it is the 42nd largest in the United Kingdom based on total assets of £223 million at March 11. It is a member of the Building Societies Association.It has...

*
£198m No
36 Swansea Building Society
Swansea Building Society
The Swansea Building Society is a building society based in Swansea, Wales. It is a member of the Building Societies Association.The Society was founded in 1923. Today it is one of only three remaining mutual building societies in Wales and claims to be only building society or bank with its...

 
£182m No
37 Stafford Railway Building Society
Stafford Railway Building Society
Stafford Railway Building Society is a UK building society, which has its headquarters in Stafford, Staffordshire. It was formed in 1877 by a small group of railway workers of the London & North Western Railway Company. It is a member of the Building Societies Association.-External links:***...

*
£175m No
38 Chorley & District Building Society
Chorley & District Building Society
The Chorley & District Building Society is a UK building society based in Chorley, Lancashire, England. It is the 46th largest in the United Kingdom based on total assets of £176 million as at February 2008...

*
£172m No
39 Beverley Building Society
Beverley Building Society
The Beverley Building Society is based in the East Riding of Yorkshire town of Beverley. Its only branch is in Beverley. From 1998 to 2009 it had a second branch in Pocklington. It is the 50th largest in the United Kingdom based on total assets of £145 million as at 31 December 2007. It is a member...

*
£165m No
40 Buckinghamshire Building Society
Buckinghamshire Building Society
The Buckinghamshire Building Society was founded in 1907 in Chalfont St Giles by a group of local businessmen. Originally called the Chalfont & District Permanent Building Society, it was renamed the Buckinghamshire in 1961...

*
£158m No
41 Holmesdale Building Society
Holmesdale Building Society
The Holmesdale Building Society is a UK building society based in Reigate, Surrey. It is a member of the Building Societies Association.-External links:***...

*
£152m No
42 Earl Shilton Building Society
Earl Shilton Building Society
The Earl Shilton Building Society is a UK building society, which has its head office in Earl Shilton, Leicestershire. It is the 53rd largest in the United Kingdom based on total assets of £96.1 million as at 31 March 2008. It is a member of the Building Societies Association.-External links:***...

*
£99m No
43 Ecology Building Society
Ecology Building Society
Ecology Building Society is a Building Society in the United Kingdom. Established in 1981, the Ecology is based in West Yorkshire, and has over 10,000 open accounts. It is a member of the Building Societies Association....

*
£94m No
44 Shepshed Building Society
Shepshed Building Society
The Shepshed Building Society is a UK building society, which has its head office in Shepshed, Leicestershire. It is a member of the Building Societies Association.-External links:***...

 
£93m No
45 Penrith Building Society
Penrith Building Society
The Penrith Building Society is a UK building society based in Penrith, Cumbria. It is a member of the Building Societies Association.-External links:* **...

*
£89m No
46 City of Derry Building Society
City of Derry Building Society
The City of Derry Building Society is a UK building society based in Derry, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. It is a member of the Building Societies Association...

*
£38m No
47 Century Building Society
Century Building Society
The Century Building Society is a building society based in Edinburgh, Scotland. It is the smallest building society in Scotland and the United Kingdom, based on total assets of £22 million at 31 December 2007. It has only one branch, at its head office in Albany Street, Edinburgh...

*
£24m No

* These societies do not form part of a corporate business group, although they may own other businesses.

Demutualised

Ten building societies of the United Kingdom demutualised
Demutualization
Demutualization is the process by which a customer-owned mutual organization or co-operative changes legal form to a joint stock company. It is sometimes called stocking or privatization. As part of the demutualization process, members of a mutual usually receive a "windfall" payout, in the form...

 between 1989 and 2000, either becoming a bank or being acquired by a larger bank. 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
Nationalization
Nationalisation, also spelled nationalization, is the process of taking an industry or assets into government ownership by a national government or state. Nationalization usually refers to private assets, but may also mean assets owned by lower levels of government, such as municipalities, being...

.

Name Fate Successor Year |Current position
Abbey National
Abbey (bank)
Abbey National plc was a UK-based bank and former building society, which latterly traded under the Abbey brand name. It became a wholly owned subsidiary of Grupo Santander of Spain in 2004, and was rebranded as Santander in January 2010, forming Santander UK along with the savings business of the...

 
Converted to plc  1989 The new Bank, also known as "Abbey", was acquired by Banco Santander & now rebranded to simply Santander
Santander UK
Santander UK plc is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Spanish Santander Group. Based in the United Kingdom, it operates under the name of Santander. Santander is the third largest bank in the UK in terms of deposits, the second largest in terms of mortgages held, and the fourth largest in terms of...

.
Cheltenham and Gloucester  was taken over by Lloyds Bank plc
Lloyds Bank
Lloyds Bank Plc was a British retail bank which operated in England and Wales from 1765 until its merger into Lloyds TSB in 1995; it remains a registered company but is currently dormant. It expanded during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and took over a number of smaller banking companies...

 
1994 Now part of Lloyds TSB
Lloyds TSB
Lloyds TSB Bank Plc is a retail bank in the United Kingdom. It was established in 1995 by the merger of Lloyds Bank, established in Birmingham, England in 1765 and traditionally considered one of the Big Four clearing banks, with the TSB Group which traces its origins to 1810...

 although C&G still have a branch network.
National & Provincial Building Society was taken over by Abbey National plc
Abbey (bank)
Abbey National plc was a UK-based bank and former building society, which latterly traded under the Abbey brand name. It became a wholly owned subsidiary of Grupo Santander of Spain in 2004, and was rebranded as Santander in January 2010, forming Santander UK along with the savings business of the...

1995 Business merged into Abbey National (now Santander
Santander UK
Santander UK plc is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Spanish Santander Group. Based in the United Kingdom, it operates under the name of Santander. Santander is the third largest bank in the UK in terms of deposits, the second largest in terms of mortgages held, and the fourth largest in terms of...

), name no longer used.
Alliance & Leicester
Alliance & Leicester
Alliance & Leicester was a former UK-based bank and PLC, which in later years operated as a trading name of Santander UK before being rebranded as Santander. Alliance & Leicester was legally acquired in May 2010 by Santander UK, and was fully incorporated by 2011...

Converted to plc 1997 Acquired by Banco Santander, which also owns Abbey, in October 2008, and merged into Santander
Santander UK
Santander UK plc is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Spanish Santander Group. Based in the United Kingdom, it operates under the name of Santander. Santander is the third largest bank in the UK in terms of deposits, the second largest in terms of mortgages held, and the fourth largest in terms of...

 in 2010.
Bristol and West
Bristol and West
Bristol & West is a former commercial bank in the United Kingdom which is a division of the Bank of Ireland. Bristol & West has its headquarters in Bristol, England. It was previously a building society known as the Bristol and West Building Society...

 
was taken over by the Bank of Ireland
Bank of Ireland
The Bank of Ireland is a commercial bank operation in Ireland, which is one of the 'Big Four' in both parts of the island.Historically the premier banking organisation in Ireland, the Bank occupies a unique position in Irish banking history...

 
1997 Became a division of Bank of Ireland but its savings balances and branch network transferred to the Britannia Building Society
Britannia Building Society
The Britannia is a financial services institution and trading name of the Co-operative Bank Plc in the United Kingdom.Before the merger with the Co-operative, Britannia was a mutual building society, with headquarters in Leek, Staffordshire...

 in 2005 (which in turn merged with Co-operative Financial Services
Co-operative Financial Services
Co-operative Banking Group Limited, formerly Co-operative Financial Services, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Co-operative Group Ltd. in the United Kingdom...

 in 2009). Bristol & West mortgages ceased trading on 10 January 2009.
Halifax  Converted to plc 1997 Became part of HBOS
HBOS
HBOS plc is a banking and insurance company in the United Kingdom, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Lloyds Banking Group having been taken over in January 2009...

 in 2001, which itself became part of Lloyds Banking Group
Lloyds Banking Group
Lloyds Banking Group plc is a major British financial institution, formed through the acquisition of HBOS by Lloyds TSB in 2009. As at February 2010, HM Treasury held a 41% shareholding through UK Financial Investments Limited . The Group headquarters is located at 25 Gresham Street in London, with...

 in 2009. Trading name still in use.
Northern Rock
Northern Rock
Northern Rock plc is a British bank, best known for becoming the first bank in 150 years to suffer a bank run after having had to approach the Bank of England for a loan facility, to replace money market funding, during the credit crisis in 2007.  Having failed to find a commercial buyer for...

Converted to plc 1997 Nationalised in February 2008 following near bankruptcy due to the Subprime mortgage crisis
Subprime mortgage crisis
The U.S. subprime mortgage crisis was one of the first indicators of the late-2000s financial crisis, characterized by a rise in subprime mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures, and the resulting decline of securities backed by said mortgages....

.
The Woolwich
The Woolwich
The Woolwich is a trademark of the British bank Barclays. Originally the 'Woolwich' was the Woolwich Building Society before it demutualised and became a public limited company in 1997...

Converted to plc 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
Birmingham Midshires
Birmingham Midshires is a commercial bank in the United Kingdom, a division of Bank of Scotland plc . It is headquartered at Pendeford Business Park, Wolverhampton, England and has 67 offices throughout England...

was taken over by Halifax plc 1999 Now owned by Lloyds Banking Group
Lloyds Banking Group
Lloyds Banking Group plc is a major British financial institution, formed through the acquisition of HBOS by Lloyds TSB in 2009. As at February 2010, HM Treasury held a 41% shareholding through UK Financial Investments Limited . The Group headquarters is located at 25 Gresham Street in London, with...

. The brand name is still retained, but running entirely by post and internet.
Bradford & Bingley
Bradford & Bingley
Bradford & Bingley plc is a British bank with headquarters in the West Yorkshire town of Bingley. In 2008, partly due to the credit crunch, the bank was nationalised and in effect split into two parts; the mortgage book remained with the now publicly owned Bradford & Bingley plc, and the deposits...

Converted to plc 2000 Nationalisation with sale of savings book to Abbey (now Santander
Santander UK
Santander UK plc is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Spanish Santander Group. Based in the United Kingdom, it operates under the name of Santander. Santander is the third largest bank in the UK in terms of deposits, the second largest in terms of mortgages held, and the fourth largest in terms of...

).

No longer exist

The following is an incomplete list of building societies in the United Kingdom that no longer exist, since they either merged with or were taken over by other building societies or mutuals.
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
Bingley Permanent Building Society
Bingley Permanent Building Society was a UK building society, which merged with the Bradford Equitable Building Society in 1964 to form the Bradford & Bingley Building Society. Bradford & Bingley fell victim to the financial crisis of 2007–2010 and is now part of Santander UK, while its mortgage...

 and
Bradford Equitable Building Society
Bradford Equitable Building Society
Bradford Equitable Building Society was an English building society, which merged with the Bingley Permanent Building Society in 1964 to form the Bradford & Bingley Building Society. Bradford & Bingley fell victim to the financial crisis of 2007–2010 and is now part of Santander UK, while its...

 
merged to form the Bradford & Bingley Building Society  in 1964
Co-operative Permanent Building Society
Co-operative Permanent Building Society
The Co-operative Permanent Building Society was a mutual building society, providing mortgages and savings accounts to its members. Its head office was located at New Oxford House in London...

 
changed its name to Nationwide Building Society
Nationwide Building Society
Nationwide Building Society is a British building society, and is the largest in the world. It has its headquarters in Swindon, England, and maintains significant administration centres in Bournemouth and Northampton...

 
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
Leek & Westbourne Building Society and
Oldbury Britannia Building Society 
merged to form Britannia Building Society
Britannia Building Society
The Britannia is a financial services institution and trading name of the Co-operative Bank Plc in the United Kingdom.Before the merger with the Co-operative, Britannia was a mutual building society, with headquarters in Leek, Staffordshire...

 
in 1975
Huddersfield & Bradford Building Society and
West Yorkshire Building Society 
merged to form Yorkshire Building Society
Yorkshire Building Society
The Yorkshire Building Society is the second largest building society in the UK, with its headquarters in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. Assets now exceed £20 billion....

 
in 1982
Coventry Economic Building Society and
Coventry Provident Building Society 
merged to form the Coventry Building Society
Coventry Building Society
The Coventry Building Society is a building society based in Coventry, England. It is the third largest in the United Kingdom with total assets of approximately £22.3 billion at 31 December 2010. It is a member of the Building Societies Association.-History:...

 
in 1983
Burnley Building Society and
Provincial Building Society 
merged to form the National & Provincial Building Society  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
Anglia Building Society
The Anglia Building Society was first formed by the merger of the Northampton Town and County and Leicestershire building societies in the United Kingdom in 1966...

 and
Nationwide Building Society
Nationwide Building Society
Nationwide Building Society is a British building society, and is the largest in the world. It has its headquarters in Swindon, England, and maintains significant administration centres in Bournemouth and Northampton...

 
merged to form
which changed name to the
Nationwide Anglia Building Society 
Nationwide Building Society
Nationwide Building Society
Nationwide Building Society is a British building society, and is the largest in the world. It has its headquarters in Swindon, England, and maintains significant administration centres in Bournemouth and Northampton...

 
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
Portman Building Society
The Portman Building Society was a UK mutual building society, providing mortgages and savings accounts to UK consumers and offering loans to commercial enterprises. Its head office was located in Bournemouth and its administration centre in Wolverhampton...

 
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
Portman Building Society
The Portman Building Society was a UK mutual building society, providing mortgages and savings accounts to UK consumers and offering loans to commercial enterprises. Its head office was located in Bournemouth and its administration centre in Wolverhampton...

 
in 1990
Hendon Building Society
Hendon Building Society
Hendon Building Society was a UK building society, which was taken over by the Bradford & Bingley Building Society in 1991. Bradford & Bingley fell victim to the financial crisis of 2007–2010 and is now part of Santander UK, while its mortgage book is owned by UK Financial Investments...

 
was taken over by Bradford & Bingley Building Society  in 1991
Haywards Heath Building Society
Haywards Heath Building Society
Haywards Heath Building Society was a UK building society, which merged with the Yorkshire Building Society in 1992.-External links:*...

 
merged with the Yorkshire Building Society
Yorkshire Building Society
The Yorkshire Building Society is the second largest building society in the UK, with its headquarters in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. Assets now exceed £20 billion....

 
in 1992
Cheshunt Building Society
Cheshunt Building Society
Cheshunt Building Society was a UK building society, which merged with the Bristol and West Building Society in 1992. Bristol and West was taken over by the Bank of Ireland in 1997. Its savings balances and branch network transferred to the Britannia Building Society in 2005, which in turn merged...

 
merged with the Bristol and West Building Society  in 1992
Heart of England Building Society
Heart of England Building Society
Heart of England Building Society was an English building society, which merged with the Cheltenham & Gloucester Building Society in 1993. The Cheltenham & Gloucester demutualised and was acquired by Lloyds Bank in 1995.-External links:*...

 
merged with the Cheltenham & Gloucester Building Society  in 1993
St. Pancras Building Society
St. Pancras Building Society
St. Pancras Building Society was a UK building society, which merged with the Portman Building Society in 1993. The Portman then merged with the Nationwide Building Society in 2007.-External links:*...

 
merged with the Portman Building Society
Portman Building Society
The Portman Building Society was a UK mutual building society, providing mortgages and savings accounts to UK consumers and offering loans to commercial enterprises. Its head office was located in Bournemouth and its administration centre in Wolverhampton...

 
in 1993
Leeds Permanent Building Society
Leeds Permanent Building Society
The Leeds Permanent Building Society was a building society founded in Leeds, England in 1846 and was commonly known in a shortened form as The Leeds...

 
merged with the Halifax Building Society  in 1995
City & Metropolitan Building Society
City & Metropolitan Building Society
City & Metropolitan Building Society was a UK building society, founded by Frederick Cleary CBE in 1948 which merged with the Stroud & Swindon Building Society in 1996.-External links:*...

 
merged with the Stroud & Swindon Building Society
Stroud & Swindon Building Society
Stroud & Swindon Building Society was the 10th largest building society in the United Kingdom, with headquarters in Stroud, Gloucestershire and total assets of £2.7 billion as at 31 December 2009...

 
in 1996
Nottingham Imperial Building Society  merged with the Newcastle Building Society
Newcastle Building Society
The Newcastle Building Society is a UK building society that has its head office in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. It is a member of the Building Societies Association.-History:...

 
in 2000
Gainsborough Building Society  merged with the Yorkshire Building Society
Yorkshire Building Society
The Yorkshire Building Society is the second largest building society in the UK, with its headquarters in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. Assets now exceed £20 billion....

 
in 2001
Ilkeston Permanent Building Society  merged with the Derbyshire Building Society
Derbyshire Building Society
Derbyshire Building Society is a former UK building society based in Duffield, Derbyshire in the East Midlands of England. With effect from 1 December 2008 it was acquired by Nationwide Building Society and now operates as a trading division of Nationwide...

 
in 2001
Clay Cross Building Society  merged with the Derbyshire Building Society
Derbyshire Building Society
Derbyshire Building Society is a former UK building society based in Duffield, Derbyshire in the East Midlands of England. With effect from 1 December 2008 it was acquired by Nationwide Building Society and now operates as a trading division of Nationwide...

 
in 2003
Staffordshire Building Society
Staffordshire Building Society
Staffordshire Building Society was a UK building society, which merged with the Portman Building Society in 2003, which then merged with the Nationwide Building Society in 2007.-External links:*...

 
merged with the Portman Building Society
Portman Building Society
The Portman Building Society was a UK mutual building society, providing mortgages and savings accounts to UK consumers and offering loans to commercial enterprises. Its head office was located in Bournemouth and its administration centre in Wolverhampton...

 
in 2003
Lambeth Building Society
Lambeth Building Society
The Lambeth Building Society was a UK building society. It was founded in February 1852 as The Number Three Borough of Lambeth Permanent Benefit Building Society ....

 
merged with the Portman Building Society
Portman Building Society
The Portman Building Society was a UK mutual building society, providing mortgages and savings accounts to UK consumers and offering loans to commercial enterprises. Its head office was located in Bournemouth and its administration centre in Wolverhampton...

 
in 2006
Mercantile Building Society
Mercantile Building Society
The Mercantile Building Society was a UK building society. It merged with the Leeds Building Society in 2006.-External links:**...

 
merged with the Leeds Building Society
Leeds Building Society
Leeds Building Society was established as the Leeds and Holbeck Building Society in 1875 and is now the 5th largest in the UK and serves approximately 650,000 customers. The society was renamed to Leeds Building Society in September 2005. It has 70 branches across the UK, with 29 located in...

 
in 2006
Universal Building Society
Universal Building Society
rightUniversal Building Society was a UK building society, which had its head office in Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne & Wear, England. It was established in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1863.-Merger:...

 
merged with the Newcastle Building Society
Newcastle Building Society
The Newcastle Building Society is a UK building society that has its head office in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. It is a member of the Building Societies Association.-History:...

 
in 2006
Portman Building Society
Portman Building Society
The Portman Building Society was a UK mutual building society, providing mortgages and savings accounts to UK consumers and offering loans to commercial enterprises. Its head office was located in Bournemouth and its administration centre in Wolverhampton...

 
merged with the Nationwide Building Society
Nationwide Building Society
Nationwide Building Society is a British building society, and is the largest in the world. It has its headquarters in Swindon, England, and maintains significant administration centres in Bournemouth and Northampton...

 
in 2007
Cheshire Building Society
Cheshire Building Society
The Cheshire Building Society is a former building society based in Macclesfield, Cheshire, England. Prior to the merger with the Nationwide Building Society it was the 11th largest in the United Kingdom based on total assets of £5.0 billion at 31 December 2007. It is a member of the Building...

 
merged with the Nationwide Building Society
Nationwide Building Society
Nationwide Building Society is a British building society, and is the largest in the world. It has its headquarters in Swindon, England, and maintains significant administration centres in Bournemouth and Northampton...

 
in 2008
Derbyshire Building Society
Derbyshire Building Society
Derbyshire Building Society is a former UK building society based in Duffield, Derbyshire in the East Midlands of England. With effect from 1 December 2008 it was acquired by Nationwide Building Society and now operates as a trading division of Nationwide...

 
merged with the Nationwide Building Society
Nationwide Building Society
Nationwide Building Society is a British building society, and is the largest in the world. It has its headquarters in Swindon, England, and maintains significant administration centres in Bournemouth and Northampton...

 
in 2008
Barnsley Building Society
Barnsley Building Society
Barnsley Building Society was established on 12 January 1853, by a group of prominent townsfolk who following the example of many other towns and cities at the time decided to form their own building society.- History :...

 
merged with the Yorkshire Building Society
Yorkshire Building Society
The Yorkshire Building Society is the second largest building society in the UK, with its headquarters in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. Assets now exceed £20 billion....

 
in 2008
Catholic Building Society
Catholic Building Society
The Catholic Building Society was a UK building society based in Westminster, London. It was the 57th largest in the United Kingdom based on total assets of £44 million at 31 December 2007....

 
merged with the Chelsea Building Society
Chelsea Building Society
Chelsea Building Society was the fourth largest Building Society in the United Kingdom with total assets in excess of £13 billion at 31 December 2007 . It is a member of the Building Societies Association. Operating mainly in South East England with its network of 35 branches, its head office is...

 
in 2008
Scarborough Building Society
Scarborough Building Society
Scarborough Building Society was a UK building society, which had its headquarters in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, England. Scarborough Building Society was formed in May 1846 - It was a member of the Building Societies Association....

 
merged with the Skipton Building Society
Skipton Building Society
The Skipton Building Society is a building society in the United Kingdom . It is a member of the Building Societies Association....

 
in 2009
Dunfermline Building Society
Dunfermline Building Society
The Dunfermline Building Society is a building society based in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland. It was the largest building society in Scotland and the 12th largest in the United Kingdom based on total assets of £3.3 billion at 31 December 2007...

 
went into administration and most
assets and liabilities transferred to
Nationwide Building Society
Nationwide Building Society
Nationwide Building Society is a British building society, and is the largest in the world. It has its headquarters in Swindon, England, and maintains significant administration centres in Bournemouth and Northampton...

 
in 2009
Britannia Building Society
Britannia Building Society
The Britannia is a financial services institution and trading name of the Co-operative Bank Plc in the United Kingdom.Before the merger with the Co-operative, Britannia was a mutual building society, with headquarters in Leek, Staffordshire...

acquired by The Co-operative Bank  in 2009
Chelsea Building Society
Chelsea Building Society
Chelsea Building Society was the fourth largest Building Society in the United Kingdom with total assets in excess of £13 billion at 31 December 2007 . It is a member of the Building Societies Association. Operating mainly in South East England with its network of 35 branches, its head office is...

 
merged with the Yorkshire Building Society
Yorkshire Building Society
The Yorkshire Building Society is the second largest building society in the UK, with its headquarters in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. Assets now exceed £20 billion....

 
in 2010
Chesham Building Society
Chesham Building Society
The Chesham Building Society was a building society based in the market town of Chesham in Buckinghamshire, England which merged with the Skipton Building Society on 1 June 2010. Prior to the merger it was the 37th largest building society in the United Kingdom based on its total assets of £231...

 
merged with the Skipton Building Society
Skipton Building Society
The Skipton Building Society is a building society in the United Kingdom . It is a member of the Building Societies Association....

 
in 2010
Kent Reliance Building Society
Kent Reliance Building Society
Kent Reliance Banking service, also known as KRBS, was a building society based in Kent, England. Incorporating the Chatham Reliance , Dover District , Herne Bay and Kent & Canterbury , KRBS was the fastest growing building society in the UK between 2003 and 2008 and was a member of the Building...

 
acquired by OneSavings Plc to form OneSavings Bank
OneSavings Bank
OneSavings Bank Plc which trades as Kent Reliance Banking Services or krbs.com is a British banking company that has been formed by Kent Reliance Building Society and JC Flowers.-Banking Services:...

 
in 2011
Norwich and Peterborough Building Society
Norwich and Peterborough Building Society
Norwich and Peterborough Building Society is a trading name of Yorkshire Building Society based in Bradford, West Yorkshire. At the time of merger, it was the ninth largest building society in the United Kingdom, with assets in excess of £4.9 billion...

 
merged with the Yorkshire Building Society
Yorkshire Building Society
The Yorkshire Building Society is the second largest building society in the UK, with its headquarters in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. Assets now exceed £20 billion....

 
in 2011

Australia

In Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, building societies evolved along British lines. Because of strict regulations on bank
Bank
A bank is a financial institution that serves as a financial intermediary. The term "bank" may refer to one of several related types of entities:...

s, 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 St. George
St. George Bank
St.George Bank is a subsidiary of Westpac Banking Corporation trading primarily in New South Wales but with growing representation across a number of industry and business segments in Queensland and Western Australia. St.George also operates in South Australia and the Northern Territory under its...

) officially attained the status of banks.

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
  • ABS Building Society
    Abs Building Society
    ABS Building Society Limited was a mutual building society with its head office based in Armidale, NSW, Australia. ABS was a member of the industry body, Abacus, which represents Australian Credit Unions and Building Societies...

  • Greater Building Society
  • Heritage Building Society
    Heritage Building Society
    Heritage Bank Limited is Australia's largest mutual bank. Its head office is located in Toowoomba, Queensland, and it operates predominantly in the Darling Downs geographical area...

  • Hume Building Society
  • Lifeplan Australia Building Society
  • Maitland Mutual Building Society
  • Newcastle Permanent Building Society
    Newcastle Permanent Building Society
    The Newcastle Permanent Building Society is a building society based in Newcastle, New South Wales in Australia. It has total assets of $6.3 billion, the largest of any building society in Australia.- History :...

  • The Rock Building Society (Rockhampton and Surrounds)

Ireland

The Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

 had around 40 building societies at the mid-20th century peak. 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
First Active
First Active was an Irish bank, and former building society which was merged in to Ulster Bank in late 2009, ceasing trading in February 2010. It traditionally offered a range of mortgages, savings, investment, pension and life assurance products, but from 2007 onwards, also offered credit...

, converted into conventional banks. The last remaining building societies, EBS Building Society
EBS Building Society
EBS Limited was a financial institution in Ireland and was the country's largest building society. EBS has more than 400,000 members and distributes its products through a branch and franchised agency network. It handles direct business by telephone and the Internet...

 and Irish Nationwide Building Society, demutualised and were transferred or acquired into Bank subsidiaries in 2011 following the effects of the 2008–2011 Irish financial crisis
2008–2011 Irish financial crisis
The 2008–2011 Irish financial crisis, which had stemmed from the financial crisis of 2008, is a major political and economic crisis in Ireland that is partly responsible for the country falling into recession for the first time since the 1980s...

.
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
Irish Life and Permanent
Irish Life and Permanent, Plc or IL&P is a provider of personal financial services in Ireland. IL&P enjoys limited liability....

 (Feb 2011-Jun 2011)

loan book Anglo Irish Bank
Anglo Irish Bank
Anglo Irish Bank was a bank based in Ireland with its headquarters in Dublin from 1964 to 2011. It went into wind-down mode after nationalisation in 2009....

 (Feb 2011-Jun 2011)

Irish Bank Resolution Corporation
Irish Bank Resolution Corporation
The Irish Bank Resolution Corporation is the name given to the entity formed in 2011 by the court-mandated merger of the state-owned banking institutions Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society....

 (Jul 2011-)
Educational Building Society (-1991)
acquired The Family Building Society, 1975

EBS Building Society
EBS Building Society
EBS Limited was a financial institution in Ireland and was the country's largest building society. EBS has more than 400,000 members and distributes its products through a branch and franchised agency network. It handles direct business by telephone and the Internet...

(1991–2011)
acquired Midland and Western Building Society, 1994
acquired Norwich Irish Building Society, 1998
July 2011 EBS Ltd, subsidiary of Allied Irish Banks
Allied Irish Banks
Allied Irish Banks p.l.c. is a major commercial bank based in Ireland.AIB is one of the so called "big four" commercial banks in the state. The bank has one of the largest branch networks in Ireland; only Bank of Ireland fully rivals it. AIB offers a full range of personal and corporate banking...

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 Life and Permanent
Irish Life and Permanent, Plc or IL&P is a provider of personal financial services in Ireland. IL&P enjoys limited liability....

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
Bank of Ireland
The Bank of Ireland is a commercial bank operation in Ireland, which is one of the 'Big Four' in both parts of the island.Historically the premier banking organisation in Ireland, the Bank occupies a unique position in Irish banking history...


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
First Active
First Active was an Irish bank, and former building society which was merged in to Ulster Bank in late 2009, ceasing trading in February 2010. It traditionally offered a range of mortgages, savings, investment, pension and life assurance products, but from 2007 onwards, also offered credit...

 (1998–2004)

acquired by RBS 2004 and merged into Ulster Bank
Ulster Bank
Ulster Bank is a large commercial bank, one of the Big Four in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The Ulster Bank Group is subdivided into two separate legal entities, Ulster Bank Limited and Ulster Bank Ireland Limited...

 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

Jamaica

In Jamaica
Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

, four building societies compete with commercial banks and credits unions for most consumer financial services.

New Zealand

In New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, a number of building societies were established. Some, including Countrywide Building Society
Countrywide Bank (New Zealand)
Countrywide Bank was a Reserve Bank-registered retail bank operating throughout New Zealand. It was created from Countrywide Building Society, which itself emerged from the original Auckland Co-operative Terminating Building Society created in March 1897....

 and United Building Society
United Building Society
United Building Society was a New Zealand building society, and later a registered retail bank known as United Banking Group.United Building Society merged or purchased the operations of a number of smaller building societies including:...

, became banks in the 1980s and 1990s. Remaining building societies include
  • Nelson Building Society
    Nelson Building Society
    The Nelson Building Society is the oldest building society in New Zealand. The head office is located in Nelson, New Zealand.-External links:*...

  • Southland Building Society, which moved in October 2008 to become a registered bank known as SBS Bank. However,it remained a building society and so retained its mutual structure.

Other countries

In other countries there are mutual organisations similar to building societies:
  • Austria: In Austria
    Austria
    Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

     there are four co-operative banks: Allgemeine Bausparkasse (ABV), Raiffeisen-Bausparkasse, Bausparkasse Wüstenrot AG and Bausparkasse der Sparkassen (savings bank).

  • Finland: In Finland
    Finland
    Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

     the Mortgage Society of Finland, a permanent building society, was founded in 1860. Since 2002 mortgage loans are handled by Suomen AsuntoHypoPankki
    Suomen AsuntoHypoPankki
    Suomen AsuntoHypoPankki is a Finnish bank specialized in mortgage lending. The parent company of Suomen AsuntoHypoPankki is The Mortgage Society of Finland, a building society established in 1860. The Mortgage Society has more than 10,000 members....

    , the licensed bank owned by the society.

  • Germany: In Germany
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

     there are 11 Bausparkassen der Sparkassen (savings bank
    Savings bank
    A savings bank is a financial institution whose primary purpose is accepting savings deposits. It may also perform some other functions.In Europe, savings banks originated in the 19th or sometimes even the 18th century. Their original objective was to provide easily accessible savings products to...

    ) named Landesbausparkassen (LBS) and 15 Bausparkassen of the private bank
    Private bank
    Private banks are banks that are not incorporated. A private bank is owned by either an individual or a general partner with limited partner...

    s, for example Schwäbisch Hall, Wüstenrot, Deutsche Bank Bauspar AG and so on.

  • United States: In the United States
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

    , savings and loan association
    Savings and loan association
    A savings and loan association , also known as a thrift, is a financial institution that specializes in accepting savings deposits and making mortgage and other loans...

    s have a similar organisation and purpose.

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
BACS
Bacs Payment Schemes Limited is a United Kingdom scheme for the electronic processing of financial transactions. BACS direct debits and BACS direct credits are made using the BACS system...

 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.

See also

  • Cooperative banking
    Cooperative banking
    Cooperative banking is retail and commercial banking organized on a cooperative basis. Cooperative banking institutions take deposits and lend money in most parts of the world....

  • Mutual organisation
  • Mutualism
    Mutualism (economic theory)
    Mutualism is an anarchist school of thought that originates in the writings of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, who envisioned a society where each person might possess a means of production, either individually or collectively, with trade representing equivalent amounts of labor in the free market...

  • Demutualisation
  • Banking in the United Kingdom
    Banking in the United Kingdom
    Banking in the United Kingdom can be considered to have started in the Kingdom of England in the 17th century. The first activity in what later came to be known as banking was by goldsmiths who, after the dissolution of English monasteries by Henry VIII, began to accumulate significant stocks of...


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).

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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