Guest blog: The benefits of saving with a building society

Nathan Wade, Head of Membership at Suffolk Building Society outlines why he believes saving with a building society can be hugely rewarding, not only for those with the savings account, but also the community they live in.

It can be difficult to choose where to save your money. Building societies have a rich history of investing in people and communities. Nathan Wade, Head of Membership at Suffolk Building Society, knows all about how saving with a building society can be hugely rewarding not only for yourself, but the community you live in.

If you’ve decided to begin saving - however much or little - there’s then the question of which company to entrust with your hard-earned money. Whether you’ve chosen a cash ISA, a savings bond, or an easy access savings account, there’s a range of providers - including banks and building societies. 

Many people will chase whichever provider or account currently has the highest rate, but others with a more mindful approach may want to consider other benefits of their savings provider.

When saving with a building society, there are a few differences to when you save with a bank.
Unlike banks, mutuals don't have shareholders

Whilst banks and building societies are both financial institutions, they operate in slightly different ways. Banks tend to be owned by shareholders, whereas building societies are referred to as ‘mutuals.’ This means they are owned by their members, and operate solely for the mutual benefit of those members and their communities. 

Instead of paying a dividend to shareholders, building societies can focus on growing members’ savings and investing in the long-term sustainability of the society.
A focus on community

Because there are no dividends to pay, building societies often use some of their profits to support and improve the local community.

For example, Suffolk Building Society is currently working on campaigns to protect local nature and tackle housing issues and domestic abuse.

Have more input in how the Society is run

When you choose a building society, you become a ‘member’, and so have a larger say in what happens to the organisation. This could be anything from the charities it partners with, to decisions about how the Society itself is run. 

Members will usually have the chance to attend Annual General Meetings. This is an opportunity to ask questions, keep updated on future plans, and vote on decisions regarding the future running of the organisation.

The personal touch

Before you choose any financial provider, it’s worth thinking about what kind of customer care you’re looking for. For example, some organisations operate entirely online, so it’s important to be aware of this if you’d rather speak to someone face-to-face.

Whilst building societies are increasing their digital options, most are keeping their branches open too, understanding the difference that personal, one-to-one interactions can have.

Always research an account fully, and make sure it fits your needs and circumstances before making a decision. But if the idea of supporting your local community and protecting your corner of the planet appeals to you, then why not look into the savings accounts offered by your local building society?

Find out more: Visit Suffolk Building Society