The Building Societies Association (BSA) represents all 43 UK building societies and four larger credit unions. Building societies are primarily savings and mortgage institutions, and are owned by their customers (the members). They are required by law to obtain at least 50% of their funding from retail savings and carry out at least 75% of their lending on prime residential mortgages. Building societies serve around 25 million members across the UK.
Building societies have total assets of over £400 billion and, together with their subsidiaries, hold residential mortgages of over £315 billion, 23% of the total outstanding in the UK. They hold almost £280 billion of retail deposits, accounting for 19% of all such deposits in the UK. They employ approximately 42,500 full and part-time staff and operate through around 1,470 branches.
There have been a large number of consultations covering the area of consumer access recently, all from different angles and bodies. These include the series of FCA studies and papers, the CAB supercomplaint to the CMA, and the Lords Committee on Financial Exclusion. There appears to be no overarching view of the issues and ultimately there is a risk to consumers that different recommendations may compete and even conflict with each other.
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