Loading…

Guest blog: Using Value Add to Support Members with the cost of living

Andrew Holden and Josh Defty from BSA Associate Member, Parliament Hill, outline why they see member benefits as a useful tool to support members and demonstrate the mutual difference.

Andrew Holden, Managing Director and Josh Defty, Business Development ManagerCost of living pressures continue to bite. According to some recent research released by LV=¹, 59% of people aged 35-54 are struggling or failing to afford day-to-day bills. Further research from Unum²  quoted in Cover Magazine indicates that nearly nine in 10 workers have been negatively affected by cost of living pressures. Inflation remains stubbornly high, as do interest rates. And global conflicts threaten the supply chain – further impacting prices for families in the UK.

Outcomes include difficult financial choices, and genuine hardship for many. And in perhaps more prosaic terms, a need to hunt for the very best deals in financial markets – and then to keep switching, whether the consumer likes it or not.

Many individuals and families have had to dip into hard-earned savings, to a worrying degree. The LV= research quoted above suggests that, for example, 41% of retirees would struggle to pay an unexpected £500 bill. Many are having to cut back on expenditure – as well as investment – and choices need to be made: ‘Can I afford this month’s mortgage payment or maintain my regular monthly savings to my building society account?’ And even ‘Can I afford to take the family to the cinema? and ‘Might I have to miss the next payment into the kids’ long-term savings product?’

I was struck by an answer given recently to the question ‘What makes mutuality special and relevant to today's consumers?’ Ann-Marie O’Dea, CEO of Shepherds Friendly and now Chair of the Association of Financial Mutuals, suggested the following within the AFM Newsletter³:

”Prioritising values over profits.  Mutuality prioritises members’ values and wellbeing over shareholder returns.  This results in ethical business practices, fair pricing and the reinvestment of profits back into the organisation, for members’ benefit”. 

This approach echoes that of many within the mutual sector, and as such, given the financial pressures members are currently experiencing, it leads me to bring forward a consideration for BSA members.

If there is indeed an appetite to help these members, just when they may need it most, how might this be effectively achieved (and in a way that is not prohibitively expensive)? One answer is already in use by many mutuals: helping members save money on everyday spending (supermarkets and shopping, eating out, cinemas, travel, motoring and more), whilst also supporting their physical and mental wellbeing. Targeting relevant ‘member benefits’ at key demographics, whether it be first time buyers, or young families, or those in retirement. Such that these members can save £100s every year, whilst cementing their relationship with their society. 

Comprehensive member benefits schemes can be delivered for as little as 29p per member per annum4. Building societies can never be at the top of rate comparison lists all the time (which brings problems in an ultra-competitive marketplace), and can sometimes find it hard to demonstrate that they are introducing initiatives that can genuinely help ALL members. 

Member benefits could be the answer, with something for everyone:

  • Provide an excellent promotional opportunity for societies, for example members (and prospective members) can be invited to ‘try out’ the benefits to see what they could prospectively save, using a savings calculator. 
  • Used to mitigate unpopular rate changes, and can be adapted in support of local communities. 

Overall, they can be rolled out quickly and with little distraction from core business – in support of people who clearly need help, right now. 

To find out more about Parliament Hill and the potential value-add available for your members , contact:

Josh Defty, Business Development Manager, Parliament Hill Ltd
www.parliament-hill.co.uk
josh@parliament-hill.co.uk / 020 7710 9494

1 Source: AFM newsletter: Mutually Inclusive: December
2 https://www.covermagazine.co.uk/news/4154203/nearly-workers-impacted-cost-living-crisis
3 AFM newsletter: Mutually Inclusive: February
4 Calculated for a mid-table building society with 47,607 members for a full scheme, using BSA Key Statistics data
 

The views, opinions and positions expressed within guest blogs are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the BSA.
 

You may also be interested in...

BSA Card
  • BSA.IndustryResponse Industry Response
  • Conduct Risk & Regulation

FOS Consultation on charging Claims Management Companies & other professional representatives

The BSA strongly supports the principle of charging a fee to CMCs.

BSA Card
  • BSA.Event Event
  • Conduct Risk & Regulation

Annual Update & Networking for Boards

This autumn, the BSA is running its first event designed specifically for Board Members (Exec and Non-Exec) and Board attendees. This in-person e...

BSA Card
  • BSA.Event Event
  • Conduct Risk & Regulation

Consumer Duty: Navigating Board Reports

A free webinar hosted by BSA Associate, docStribute docStribute and Woodhurst are collaborating to bring you this webinar series. Following our pre...

BSA Card
  • BSA.Event Event

Building Societies Annual Conference 2024

Building Societies Annual Conference 2024 8th -9th May, Manchester   The Building Societies Annual Conference is the leading event in the secto...

BSA Card
  • BSA.Event Event
  • Audit & Taxation

Audit, Risk & Regulation Autumn Series

This year's annual update returned in a brand new format with a series of topical webinars covering key areas of audit, risk and regulation. This...

BSA Card
  • BSA.Event Event
  • Conduct Risk & Regulation

Consumer Duty: Linking Customer Outcomes to Customer Experience

A free webinar hosted by BSA Associate, Protiviti This webinar will explore ways firms can effectively test, monitor, and report customer outcomes ...

BSA Card
  • BSA.Event Event
  • Conduct Risk & Regulation

BDO's Financial Services' NED event: Consumer Duty Board Champions

BDO’s Financial Services’ team is delighted to invite you to our first FS NED event for 2024, to discuss the Consumer Duty’s ("the CD") next phase of ...

BSA Card
  • BSA.Event Event
  • Prudential Regulation

Preparing for successful regulatory visits

Two half-day sessions on 24 & 25 January 2024

  • BSA.IndustryResponse Industry Response
  • Conduct Risk & Regulation

GC23-2 FCA Guidance consultation on financial promotions on social media

Our response to FCA GC23-2