Originally published in BSA Society Matters magazine.
A recent survey revealed that 71% of building society members agree that their provider is an important part of the local community – compared to just 48% of banks and other financial service provider customers.
Building societies are embedded in their locales - because they are owned by their members, they are held to account by those who they serve. Not by shareholders. This crucial purpose is what has helped the sector stand the test of time for over 250 years.
But how does this translate on the ground today? Below are just some of the examples of how building societies are committed to and passionate about supporting and improving their local communities:
Tipton Building Society: “Each year, we make a donation and support in the creation of literature for the local Christmas tree of remembrance. People in the local community sponsor a light on the tree in memory of a loved one. On a larger scale, we also have a sponsorship deal with local Premier League football team, Wolverhampton Wanderers.”
Newcastle Building Society: “Community branches in Hawes and Wooler are one example of our innovative response to the financial needs of communities. Abandoned by the banks and deeply rural, both towns are determined to write their own future. We’re proud to be a part of their solution. Working in partnership, we’re providing our full range of financial services at the heart of their communities.”
Teachers Building Society: “We’re proud to be environmental ambassadors within our local community as well as within our core Teacher community; we’ve recently become environmental ambassadors of a local middle school and meet regularly to inspire and engage with their student body. We support our local foodbank by donating items and volunteering weekly and we’re also invited to participate at ‘Community Leader’ meetings which are attended by the police force, council members and businesses to develop action plans to benefit the local area.”
Cumberland Building Society: “Part of supporting our region is through financial wellbeing. For young people in our community, we introduce financial wellbeing by partnering with schools and organisations. Recently we partnered with a school for pupils aged 13-19 with severe or profound learning needs and helped them launch their own school bank, enabling pupils to develop life skills in the process.”
Coventry Building Society: “Our branches are vital in serving our local communities, so we're delivering a new vision to help us do just that.
“There's a new layout designed to serve our members' needs. No glass screens, lots of comfortable seats and spaces for different conversations are just some of the ways we're delivering this vision. We also have new Community hubs where we can invite in local community groups to talk to our members, or host events on important topics like fraud awareness.
We've had excellent feedback from our members, branch teams and even non-members, and we're committed to delivering this vision across our network in the coming years.”
Beverley Building Society: “We were excited to sponsor our charitable partner East Riding Theatre’s new original play, Horseshoes for Hand Grenades. Sponsorship also funded a minibus trip for 14 users of the local Beverley Community Lift transport charity to enjoy one of the performances.”
For more information or to see the work going into your community from our sector, visit your local building society branch.