About the BSA

About the BSA

The Building Societies Association or BSA was originally established in 1869. It is the voice for all 43 UK building societies as well as 6 credit unions.  Together these organisations serve around 25 million customers up and down the length of the UK.

The BSA's objective is to push for the best outcomes for building societies and our other members from the plethora of new and changing regulation and legislation in the UK and Europe. 

To do this we work with, amongst others, the UK Government, the EU Commission, Council and Parliament and regulators, especially the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).  In Europe we are a member of the European Association of Co-operative Banks (EACB).

We also speak out on issues that are relevant to building societies and their members (borrowers and savers).  We provide technical information to our members on a huge range of topics.  Our economists and specialist policy teams have expertise covering mortgages and housing; savings; financial policy and legal, governance and compliance matters.

The BSA is not a regulator itself,  nor is it able to deal with complaints about building societies - these are looked after by the Financial Ombudsman Service if they cannot be resolved by the Society itself.


Key sector statistics

Building societies have total assets of nearly £430 billion and, together with their subsidiaries, hold residential mortgages of over £335 billion, 23% of the total outstanding in the UK.

They hold over £295 billion of retail deposits, accounting for 18% of all such deposits in the UK and account for 39% of all cash ISA balances.

Building Societies employ approximately 42,500 full and part-time staff and operate through approximately 1,470 branches.

You can read more about building societies' lending and savings figures in the statistics section.


For people, not shareholders

Building societies are owned by their members. Borrowers and savers automatically become a member of their society when they take out a mortgage or open a savings account. 

While their businesses must be run as rigorously as any plc bank on the high street - societies operate in the same regulatory environment - their purpose is different.  A plc must operate to the benefit of its shareholders, a mutual operates to the benefit of its members and takes business decisions in a different way because of this. 

For a brief overview of the sector, see the For People, Not Shareholders leaflet.


* financial statistics as at  31 March 2020