In 2018 we celebrated our 170th anniversary, but we’re not just any old building society. We are the oldest surviving building society in the world. On top of that, today, we are the only Scottish building society. We’re a mutual society and proud to have maintained that status because it embodies one of our founding principles of being a member owned organisation.
Scotland and the World in
1848 was the year that Queen Victoria and Prince Albert first visited Balmoral and initiated the love of all things Scottish throughout the burgeoning Empire. It was also the year that the Caledonian Railway provided the first service of through carriages between Scotland and England.
When several august fathers of Edinburgh’s mercantile class set up their mutual society its aim was to lend to ‘respectable merchants and master tradesmen’ on the security of their homes and business properties. It would also provide a safe haven for the savings of members and would pay dividends to members and interest to savers.
The stock of building societies was diminished during the First World War as it was made clear to the nation that it was their patriotic duty to support the government’s fund raising activities for the war effort.
The Second World War
On the eve of the Second World War the figures revealed that the number and value of mortgages had more than doubled in the decade. There were 460 advances valued at £156,000.
Expansion in the
The AGM in 1948 was described as the 74th such meeting but it was also hailed as the ‘Centenary’ of the Society. A dinner was held in Edinburgh’s North British Hotel to celebrate, and new offices were purchased at 4, York Place.
Truly Scottish at
150 years old
The 1970s were marked by poor performance in the British economy and a rapid increase in prices. It took until the 1990s before inflation was reduced to manageable levels. Scottish Building Society continued to expand via merger, developing a presence across Scotland.
By the millennium we offered a wide range of mortgages and savings products that were designed to appeal to customers with different needs. Self-build, lifetime and guesthouse mortgages were all added to the portfolio.
Emerging from the financial
The aftermath of the financial crisis resulted in significant regulatory change across the UK financial system, requiring the Society to invest heavily in both systems and people to continue to meet the needs of our members and to satisfy the Financial Services Authority that it possessed the necessary systems and processes which had so obviously been lacking in those institutions which had recently failed.
The Society is committed to supporting worthy causes throughout Scotland and embracing diversity. To achieve this, members are given a vote to determine which charities will be supported and our staff are encouraged to help out, either by donating their time or through their own fund-raising. Late in 2017 a major sponsorship of the Scottish Women’s Premier League was announced to help the sport to grow in communities across Scotland.