This is what happens when you choose to cooperate with a building society, not a main-street bank: you have rights to elect the Board of your building society, agree or disagree with their propose changes to the Rules and Memorandum as set by the AGM (Annual general meeting). Building society’s customers are also asked to approve its Annual report and accounts, director’s renumeration report and appoint its auditors.
Nationwide, is the biggest building society in the UK, its profits last year increased by 54% to 1 billion GBP and it is not the sec on largest mortgage lender in the country.
The main difference between ‘normal’ banks and building societies is that building societies do not have shareholders therefore they are not pressurised to make massive profits. This means that essentially they are able to run on lower costs and therefore offer cheaper products to their clients. Moreover, they are mutual institutions meaning – their clients make decisions on how the building society operates. They exist in UK since the 18th century. Building societies are not companies and are not listed on the stock market.
When thinking about the financial market, banking sector and the recent crisis which is still overshadowing lives of many people, it’s worth remembering that there ARE alternative ways of doing things. And, sustainable, people-friendly, fair and transparent banking can be profitable too.