Building Societies Conference round-up: Day Two

We look back at the second day of the Building Societies Conference, with summaries and highlights from each of the sessions.

The second day of the Building Societies Conference 2024 was opened by the BSA Deputy Chair and CEO of Principality Building Society, Julie-Ann Haines. Julie-Ann opened proceedings by giving special thanks to all those who have made the conference possible. The speakers, panellists, exhibitors and headline sponsors - Mutual Vision; Pexa; Protiviti; Publicis Sapient; Smart Money People; Sopra Banking Software; Target Group; and Workday – and other sponsors – Amdocs;  Avanade; The Evolution Group; Manchester Building Society and Praesta Partners LLP.

She also thanked the organisers and volunteers for their work behind the scenes to ensure everything ran smoothly.

Read the full summary here

Keynote: Confidence in the digital age

Neil Stansfield, Head of Resilience and Security, National Physical Laboratory

Clare White, Operational Risk & Climate Manager, Hinckley & Rugby Building Society (Chair)

In a fascinating keynote speech, Neil spoke about three worlds - defensive, political and technological - and outlined their relevance to the building society sector. He then focused on the technological, and how it has changed from being a government-led world, to one which is being driven by the private sector. Neil also touched on AI and deep fake information, and the associated risks that we face.

Read the full summary here

Breakout sessions

Branching out: how mobile apps are redefining member engagement

Matt Elliott, Head of Cloud Operations, Sopra Banking Software (Chair)

Darren Garner, Finance Director, Newbury Building Society

Barry Carter, Chief Executive Officer, Hinckley & Rugby Building Society

Monique Silva, Head of Information Technology, Progressive Building Society

The adoption of mobile banking is continuing to grow - 71% of customers now access their bank account via mobile apps. While this presents an opportunity for providers, to reach the remaining 29%, understanding the barriers preventing customers from managing their money with their phone is key.

The session explored these barriers and outlined how building societies can help with the power to improve financial and technical literacy.

Read the full summary here

How can mutual organisations collaborate on technology?

Maria Harris, Chair, Open Property Data Association (Chair)

Layla White, CEO and Founder, TechPassport

Grant Parry, Chief Strategy Officer, ieDigital and Connect

Frances McCann, CEO, ScotWest Credit Union

In this session the panel discussed the merits of working with other mutuals and technology companies to achieve the best outcomes. The key takeaway points were around the importance of finding the right partners to work with, whether this is another mutual looking to achieve a similar goal, or fintech partner. 

Read the full summary here

Decarbonising housing; taking stock of the green home retrofits

Chris Busey, Policy Manager – Housing, BSA (Chair)

Phillippa Cardno, Chief Executive, Newbury Building Society

Clare White, Operational Risk & Climate Manager, Hinckley & Rugby Building Society

Colin Calder, Co-Founder, Digital Building Limited

Sandy Ruthven, Chief Executive, Severn Wye Energy

This session opened by taking stock of the current situation in the UK and the challenge to address the old, leaky housing stock accounting for around 17% of UK carbon emissions. Despite the challenges, the building society sector is forging ahead - there are now 16 green mortgage products on offer. The session then focused on two building society partnerships and how collaboration is helping educate consumers and support them on their retrofit journeys.

Read the full summary here

Strategies for supporting UK first-time buyers

Peter O’Conner, Chief Executive Officer, Target Group (Chair)

Jen Lloyd, Head of Mortgage Products and Proposition, Skipton Building Society

Jess Rushton, Head of Business Development – Smart Money People

Tom Wrigglesworth, External Affairs Manager, Leeds Building Society

Katie Pender, Managing Director – Target Group

The session opened with a reference to the recent BSA First-time Buyer Report which highlighted that becoming a first-time buyer (FTB) is possibly the most expensive it has been over the last 70 years.

During the breakout session, the panel discussed the structural barriers for first-time buyers and potential solutions to help reduce them.

Read the full summary here

Data-driven evolution: transforming building societies in the digital era

Diana Parades, CEO & Co-Founder, Suade (Chair)

Viren Patel, Strategic Advisor – Financial Services, WorkDay

Mark Mahers, Head of Finance Systems and Data, Coventry Building Society

Rita Bullivant, Director of IT & Change, Melton Building Society

In a very practical breakout session, delegates heard how two building societies approached their digital transformations, with a focus on the use of data. The panel also spoke about the need for courage to overcome the obstacles on the journey – regulation, compliance and legacy systems can all be a burden – make the decision to change and then make sure you have the right people in the right roles to go on that journey with you.

Read the full summary here

Digital core transformation for the Canadian mutual: an end-to-end learning journey

Tim Bowen, CEO, Mutual Vision (Chair)

Carrie Forbes, CEO, League of Data

Tim Bowen, CEO of Mutual Vision, chaired a “fireside chat” with Carrie Forbes and Chad Griffen of League Data, discussing their reflections and insights from their ongoing digital transformation project with 39 Canadian Credit Unions.

League Data is a 50 year old cooperatively owned IT company based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. It offers cloud based core banking systems for its credit union members. 

Read the full summary here

UK Savings Week: building financial resilience

Susan Allen, OBE, Chief Executive Officer, Yorkshire Building Society

Marlene Shiels, Chief Executive, Capital Credit Union

Jamie Evans, Research Fellow at the Personal Finance Research Centre, University of Bristol

Amelia Murray, Deputy Editor, Be Clever With Your Cash

Susan Allen opened the session by outlining how building societies are supporting 23 million people to build financial resilience through having savings, equating to 19% of all UK cash savings and 40% of Cash ISAs. This was followed with a focus on the UK Savings Week campaign, together with an overview of the recent Bristol University research, where links between savings and mental wellbeing were investigated.

Read the full summary here

Keynote: Opportunities and challenges in a changing landscape

Emily Shepperd, Chief Operating Officer, Financial Conduct Authority

Emily began her speech by acknowledging the role building societies play in helping consumers build their resilience, and how they reach out to under-served groups - reaching more complex FTBs, the self-employed and other, often overlooked customers. Emily highlighted how FCA rules allow lender flexibility and encouraged building societies to discuss propositions with them. She also touched on lending into retirement, Consumer Duty and the regulators focus on savings products.

Read the full summary here

Secrets of Mutual Value Measurement: the key to waking up the dormant and undervalued parts of your business for competitive success

Melina Morrison, CEO, Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals

Professor Paul Thambar, Director, Mutual Value Lab, Monash Business School

Andrew Haigh, Chief Executive Officer, Newcastle Building Society

Peter Hunt, Managing Partner, Mutuo

Kate Creagh, Public Affairs Manager, Building Societies Association (Chair)

The final session of the Conference introduced the Mutual Value Measurement Framework, developed in Australia to enable co-operative and mutual businesses to measure their total value creation through a set of common dimensions and shared language. Delegates heard about the development process which was followed by a case study with Newcastle Building Society CEO, Andrew Haigh.

Read the full summary

And finally, some thoughts from our headline sponsors….






As headline sponsors at the Building Societies Conference, PEXA enjoyed engaging discussions on the future of housing and the mutual sector. The insights from Andy Burnham, freshly re-elected as Mayor of Greater Manchester, were particularly impactful. 

His focus on the "Importance of Place" and initiatives for social housing and retrofitting showed promising areas for collaboration with building societies. Similarly, Robin Fieth's "March of the Mutuals" highlighted important developments in our industry, pushing for a more community-focused financial sector. These discussions align well with PEXA’s goals of simplifying property transactions and reinforce our dedication to innovation and community engagement.

A big thanks to the BSA for another great conference. We’re looking forward to next year! Visit us at pexa.co.uk to learn more about us


We thoroughly enjoyed this year’s Building Societies Annual Conference and came away feeling energised by the discussions we had and connections we made.  A big thanks to Steve O’Regan (Group Chief Risk Officer, Skipton) and David Gardner (Partner, TLT Solicitors) for joining Laura Moore (Operational Resilience Managing Director, Protiviti) and Tom Lemon (UK Country Market Leader, Protiviti) to discuss operational resilience during our panel session on Day 1.  The level of conversation during and after that session goes to show how important that topic is across the Building Societies and Credit Unions and how much there is still to do for firms to be truly operationally resilient.

Thanks to all those that stopped at our stand for a chat – lots happening in areas we can help, spanning Risk and Transformation.  If you would like to continue the conversation, you can connect with Tom at thomas.lemon@protiviti.co.uk and Laura at laura.moore@protiviti.co.uk.

Publicis Sapient

Publicis Sapient attended the Building Societies Annual Conference as headline sponsors for the first time, and it was an incredibly rewarding experience. The conference delivered high-quality content, with insightful sessions addressing current industry challenges and trends, particularly with regards to the increasing need for digital business transformation.

The event fostered a strong sense of community among building society professionals. It was a fantastic opportunity to reconnect with long-standing contacts and establish relationships with new ones. The networking sessions were particularly fruitful, facilitating meaningful discussions and potential collaborations.

Being headline sponsors allowed us to support a sector we are passionate about and demonstrate our commitment to its growth and development. Core modernization, treasury transformation remains top priorities for the sector to tackle. To continue the conversation on any of these topics and to discuss your transformation needs, visit our website: Publicis Sapient 

Smart Money People

We were honoured to be a headline sponsor at the Building Societies Annual Conference 2024. It was great to catch up with our existing clients and meet so many new faces. Not only that, we hosted a lunch and took part in two panel discussions. Smart Money People’s Head of Business Development Jess Rushton was on a panel looking at how lenders can support first time buyers, while Be Clever With Your Cash’s Deputy Editor Amelia Murray took part in a panel discussion considering how we can get the nation saving more.

Earlier this year, we became associate members of the BSA. Our membership demonstrates our deep relationship with the sector, and how we're committed to helping building societies deliver better outcomes with our data and insight. And being a headline sponsor at the BSA’s annual conference elevated our support even further. Thank you for having us!

Target Group (Peter O’Connor, CEO)

The event was well attended and it’s great to see demand for such high-quality physical events, has returned with full force. 

The Target-hosted panel debate on first-time buyers proved popular and sparked thought-provoking questions from the audience. These covered everything from house price-to-earnings ratios to different home ownership models. There was a focus on how the innovations building societies introduce could help ease the challenges – and sense of overwhelm – that many first-time buyers face. Suggested panel solutions included leveraging technology and AI to introducing an accessible new form of Help to Buy. 

Diverse keynote and breakout sessions on topics ranging from climate change to Open Finance, showcased a breadth of knowledge and commitment to collaboration and innovation to meet evolving customer needs. 

A standout FCA session addressed Consumer Duty next steps and the importance of investing in data to tailor solutions and predict consumer trends. 

There was a noticeable buzz throughout the conference, and a genuine enthusiasm by participants to engage and learn. 

Mutual Vision

Mutual Vision were delighted to be one of the headline sponsors and exhibitors at this year’s Building Societies annual conference. It was great to see so many building societies and tech providers in attendance. Spending time catching up with delegates at the conference and with guests at the dinner in the stunning Manchester Cathedral on the Thursday evening.

We thoroughly enjoyed the keynote speakers and breakout sessions, including our own CEO Tim Bowen hosting an enlightening fireside chat and Q&A with Carrie Forbes and Chad Griffin from League Data on their own digital transformation journey with 39 Canadian mutuals.

We look forward to 2025’s conference in Birmingham. 

Find out more: www.mutualvision.co.uk/mvsolar

Sopra Banking Software

As a long-standing member of the Building Societies Association, Sopra Banking Software were delighted to again be a headline sponsor of the 2024 Annual Conference. 

The event provided a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with clients, partners, and industry experts to tackle the current challenges & opportunities within the sector. It was great to see a full room at our panel discussion, where our clients from Hinckley & Rugby Building Society, Newbury Building Society & Progressive Building Society joined us to share their insights on how mobile apps are redefining member engagement. 

Thank you again to the entire BSA team for a superb event, and we can’t wait to see everyone in Birmingham next year!


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