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Proud to be a Mutual

Jun 11, 2015

Teachers Building Society is proud to be a mutual, but what does this mean to our members and how does it make us different to banks?

Banks: Banks are companies. They are usually listed on the stock market which means that people and organisations can buy shares in banks. The shareholders own the banks but don’t necessarily have accounts with them - the shares are an investment. If the bank is successful, shareholders will benefit because the bank will pay them a dividend. This means there is pressure on banks to make money for shareholders. If they don’t, their shareholders may invest their money elsewhere.

Building Societies: Building societies don’t have shareholders so they aren’t under the same pressure to make lots of money to pass onto them. Instead, building societies are mutual institutions. This means that the people who use their services are members of the building society and they can vote on decisions that affect the society. Anyone can join and become a member and it means building societies can focus on community banking services that benefit its members.

How does being a Building Society benefit its members?

Because building societies don’t need to maximise profits to pay external shareholders, they can put their profits back into the company – focusing, for example, on customer service and creating products that meet the needs of their customers.

How does Teachers Building Society benefit its members specifically?

Customer Service: At Teachers, we take our commitment to our members seriously.  Some people believe that building societies are old-fashioned organisations, but we believe they are traditional: we may not be able to compete with some of the big banks in terms of TV, radio and newspaper advertising, but we offer personal customer service and products that meet the needs of teachers and the local community.

Providing an excellent level of service has been at the heart of what we do for many years. We conduct our own customer surveys, asking every new customer to provide feedback and to rate the service they have received while opening a savings account or applying for a mortgage. In 2014, 99% of customers who responded rated our service as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ and this has been a consistent achievement in recent years, something the whole team at Teachers is very proud of.

Treating customers as individuals: At Teachers, we offer a personal service to our customers. We have no automated phone system, so you’ll always go straight through to a team member who is knowledgeable, personable and friendly. We do not use credit scoring for mortgages, in-house underwriters work on a case-by-case basis which means we can assess each case individually.

Creating products for customer needs: At Teachers, we offer mortgages for local residents and teachers in the UK and we are constantly conducting research to ensure the products we provide meet the needs of customers. We have a range of mortgage and remortgage deals - whether you’re a first-time buyer, existing customer or simply looking to switch from another lender. We also support the Help to Buy and Shared Ownership schemes for residents of Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire as well as teachers across England. We are one of the first lenders to offer Help to Buy and Shared Ownership on a remortgage basis.

For education professionals, we have created a range of specialist mortgage products including a Teacher Contract Mortgage, Teacher Back on Track Mortgage and Teacher Later Years Mortgage. We also offer mortgages to Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) on a one year contract and can provide the loan up to one month before they start their first post.

We also offer a range of savings accounts and ISAs for anyone living in the UK, and in 2014 our easy access accounts featured in the ‘best buy’ tables for 43 weeks of the year.

If you are looking to purchase a property in Dorset, Hampshire or Wiltshire, or if you are a teacher anywhere in the UK, contact a member of our mortgage team on 0800 378 669.


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