Building societies have tended to have lower but more stable levels of profitability than the major UK banking groups, reflecting both their focus on offering members better rates and also the lower risk profile of building societies’ business.
Building societies also are better capitalised than banks, on average, meaning they have more of a buffer against the impact of unexpected events.
This is demonstrated by the CET1 capital ratio. The 2016 average for building societies that have reported this figure is 20.6%. By comparison, the average CET1 ratio at the big five banks was 12.3%.