Meet Teachers Building Society
As part of our Meet the Bank series, we find out more about our partner banks and building societies, and hear more about their values, the challenges they face, and what makes them different.
About Teachers Building Society
Teachers Building Society is a mutual organisation formed in 1966 to support teachers with small deposits to buy their own homes. It continues to provide mortgages and savings today, and aims to work in a way that supports the wider communities and environment in which it operates.
🕰️ Established in: 1966
🏠 Based in: Wimborne, Dorset, England
🏢 Offices: Wimborne, Dorset, England
🧍♂️ Number of employees: 60
❤️ Raisin UK partner since: 2020
🏆 Key achievements:
In 2020 the Society delivered a strong set of financial results, announcing that it had surpassed £300m total assets for the first time in its 55 year history, despite the effective shut down of the housing market when the nation went into ‘lockdown’ to fight the covid-19 pandemic.
🦮 Charity work:
Our primary partnership is with Education Support, a charity dedicated to the mental health and wellbeing of teachers and education staff. Education Support offers a confidential support helpline, a grants service for teachers with money worries and an employee assistance programme. During the first covid-19 lockdown we were able to make an immediate donation of £50,000 to ensure the charity’s vital services were not interrupted at time when teachers were facing unprecedented challenges inside and outside of the classroom.
What makes your building society unique?
We’re a building society, a mutual organisation which means we’re focused on the interests of our members (those who save with us or borrow from us), rather than shareholders.
We’ve been unique since we were formed. In the late 60s, teachers in general and women in particular found it very hard to get a mortgage thanks to their (relatively) low pay which made them unattractive lending prospects to many providers. We were formed specifically to combat this financial inequality, making it a founding purpose to lend to any teacher (regardless of gender) who wanted to buy a home.
Having this singular mission makes us as unique today as it did when we were formed. We’re also the only UK building society dedicated to supporting a particular profession (teachers). As a Building Society, we use the collective deposits of savers to support lending mortgages, which means our savers have a unique role to play – by choosing to save with us, they are boosting our ability to help even more teachers step onto the housing ladder, in effect saying thanks to those who educated them and who teach our children today.
What are your building society’s core values?
Like other building societies, our members are our top priority. We genuinely put the needs of our savers and borrowers first and make every decision with them in mind.
Whilst we accept that we can’t solve all of the earth’s problems, we do care as much about the way we do business as the goals we are trying to achieve, and do our best to operate in a way that is kind to people and the planet.
What are the biggest changes and challenges that your building society has faced in the last two years?
Undoubtedly the Covid-19 pandemic has been a challenge, but one that as a Society we have risen to, continuing to offer excellent, uninterrupted service to our members from the safety of our own homes.
As an organisation dedicated to supporting the wider community in which we operate, seeing one of our charitable partners, Education Support (a charity dedicated to the support and wellbeing of teachers, struggle was a real challenge. Our belief in the importance of their service was such that we made a donation of £50k to ensure their phone lines remained open to support teachers in need during the pandemic.
What are the benefits of your building society working with Raisin UK?
Like all building societies, we use the collective deposits of savers to support mortgage lending. Simply put, the more savers who chose to trust us with their money, the more first time buyers we can help onto the property ladder. Working with Raisin allows us to expand our reach to a different, more diverse audience. It helps us raise our brand profile amongst a wider sphere of consumers, in turn attracting deposits to the society which we wouldn’t otherwise have received.
What new trends in banking and finance do you predict we will see in the next 12 months?
We believe that post pandemic consumer attitudes will continue to favour digital first approaches to managing their finance.
We also believe that the pandemic, and environmental events like COP26, have shone a light on brands with strong societal purpose and business ethics and that going forward consumers will continue to be drawn towards brands who offer sustainable products and services and who do business in a sustainable way.
Finally, tell us something about your bank that customers would be interested to know.
We were formed specifically to combat the financial inequality that left teachers in general and female teachers in particular unable to obtain a mortgage.
In the 1960s many male primary school teachers earned so little that their own children qualified for free school meals, making them an unattractive mortgage lending prospect. For women, it was even harder, they needed male ‘permission’ to even open a bank account, let alone take out a mortgage. It sounds unbelievable but it’s true.
Our founders didn’t think things were right or fair. In fact, they were so firm in their belief that any young teacher (regardless of gender) who wanted to buy a home should be able to achieve that dream that they decided to set up a new building society to do things differently. And so Teachers Building Society was born. The Society first reached out to members of the NUT (now NEU) teaching union to attract investment (savings) and then began offering mortgages.
We continue to provide savings accounts and mortgages today, aiming to help as many teacher first time buyers own a home as possible.
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