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How the mutual model can navigate the mortgage maze

Ashley Pearson, National BDM at The Loughborough for Intermediaries

Ever since the first building society was established in Birmingham in 1775, these institutions have held a special place in the local community. Initially conceived with the sole purpose of building houses for its members, many of the earlier building societies were often disbanded when each member had built a house.

Today, almost 250 years after the first building society was originally conceived, they are not only a key provider of mortgages and savings products in the local community and beyond but also in supporting regional initiatives which help to drive the local economy.

In the current economic climate, the personalised approach adopted by building societies and the investment taken in the social and economic well-being of local economies can’t be ignored and although the number of building societies in the UK has reduced greatly over the years, their role remains as relevant as ever.

The personal touch

When it comes to their influence in the current mortgage market, building societies are helping intermediaries and their clients to navigate ongoing uncertainty by offering a personal touch to mortgage applications and in providing a range of specialist mortgage solutions which can meet the ever-changing needs of the modern-day consumer.

Whether this means looking at solutions that draw on family support such as a family deposit mortgage or using the income from parents or family members for a Joint Borrower Sole Proprietor mortgage to help boost borrowing capacity, speaking to us directly will enable advisers to determine the best solution for their clients.

In addition to this personalised service, the fact that every building society is fully owned by its members means there is no obligation to pay out dividends to shareholders and every business decision made is always with their best interests in mind.

This means that all profits can be directly invested back into the business in the form of higher interest rates for savers, lower rates for borrowers and through the provision of better overall services within the business or in the wider local community.

For example, many building societies have a strong commitment to regional investment that extends far beyond financial services and are actively involved in initiatives that contribute to the development of the local economy.

This can include providing support to local charities, the provision of financial education programmes in schools and the sponsorship of community events such as festivals or the local football team.

Building a community

Most building societies also regularly take part in community engagement programmes to better understand the needs and priorities of local residents or have employee volunteer or grant and awards programmes in place that provide support to local start-ups or environmental initiatives taking place within their communities.

On 1 November, five Leicestershire-based building societies, including The Loughborough, came together to outline the different and complimentary products available through intermediaries to borrowers, as well as outlining the services we provide to the local community.

The event, held at the Leicestershire County Cricket Club, provided local advisers with the opportunity to better understand how building societies’ function, how they continue to play a vital role in the UK’s financial services landscape and why utilising the services available on their doorstep can help benefit their clients and the wider community as a whole.

Whilst we all maintain our individual approaches to this, we also have a common goal when it comes to providing specialist lending solutions which can make a real difference for a range of borrowers in what remains a challenging economic environment. In short, it’s a real demonstration of mutuality and collaboration working in practice to champion a localised approach with a much bigger goal in mind.