Yorkshire Building Society

The Yorkshire Building Society is the second largest building society in the United Kingdom with a regional base in the north of England. Yorkshire Building Society has 2 million customers, 131 branches and assets of £23 billion. Due to the fact that many of the largest building societies converted into banks and lost their mutual status, the Yorkshire Building Society became the second biggest society in the United Kingdom. It is one of the largest cheque issuing institutions that does not clear its own cheques.

The Yorkshire Building Society offers saving accounts, mortgages, a range of third party investment products, loans, credit cards and insurance. It also offers conveyancing to its mortgage customers in certain areas.

Mutual Status

In the early 1990s building societies were permitted to become banks. Many account holders were in favour of this as they got instantly tradable shares in companies that often then became the target of takeovers and so their membership that until then been of little monetary value became worth thousands of pounds. Similarly many managers saw the chance of converting into banks to hold out the opportunity of entering new markets and being more able to find funds to expand.

The Yorkshire Building Society, which with its regional concentration, would have made a prime candidate for conversion into a bank, was the first building society to commit to keeping its mutual status. It later introduced a Charitable Agreement whereby new members were obliged to agree to assign any shares or cash from demutualisation to charity.

Yorkshire Building Society is based in the Yorkshire region, with its headquarters in Bradford. It has made some attempts to expand outside the region, and has a number of branches, but the base of the society, both in customers and branches, remains in Yorkshire. Its head offices are in Bradford in West Yorkshire. It has offices outside Yorkshire, mainly from its 1992 merger with the Haywards Heath Building Society in Sussex.

The Yorkshire Building Society has agency arrangements with a number of Estate Agents who offer a limited range of financial services, particularly mortgages. This allows the society to offer its products to a wider audience outside Yorkshire.

Barnsley Building Society

The Barnsley Building Society is a very recent acquisition due to the credit crunch. In 2008 the Barnsley Building Society became insolvent due to money it had deposited in Icelandic banks, which it could no longer be guaranteed to be paid back. The Yorkshire Building Society was persuaded to merge with it due to the Yorkshire’s strong balance sheet.

Constituent Societies

The Yorkshire Building Society started in East Yorkshire in 1864. Bradford Building Society, the Huddersfield & Bradford Building Society and the West Yorkshire Building Society all merged and so in 1982 the regional name “Yorkshire Building Society” was adopted.

Charitable Activities

The Yorkshire Building Society charitable foundation is registered with the Charity Commission. It is dedicated to supporting local grass roots charities in the same communities as its members and staff live. Since 1999 it has given away £3 million to 9,000 local causes. The society encourages its savers to give small amounts of money to charity through its “Small Change, Big Difference” programme. They also have a Community Investment Fund that is designed to offer very small grants to local one off projects.

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