Barnsley Building Society

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Yorkshire Building Society trading
as Barnsley Building Society
Type Building Society (Mutual)
Industry Banking and Financial Services
Founded 1853
Headquarters Barnsley, England, UK
Products Savings, Mortgages, Investments,
Loans, Credit Cards, Insurance
Net income £157 million GBP (December 2012)
Total assets £33.5 billion GBP (December 2012)
Parent Yorkshire Building Society
Website www.barnsley-bs.co.uk

Barnsley Building Society was established on 12 January 1853, by a group of prominent townsfolk who following the example of many other towns and cities at the time decided to form their own building society.

History[edit]

Originally called the Barnsley Permanent Benefit Building Society, it operated from an office above a grocers shop before moving to purpose built premises at the corner of Regent Street and Royal Street in the town centre. During this period many rival terminating societies emerged as were the norm at the time but due to its permanent nature the society began to dominate the local market for saving and mortgages. By the 1890s the society had opened branches at both Clayton West and Mexborough and saving balances started to grow more quickly. The society started to operate in several other locations around the area including temporary branches in church halls and schools in order to make saving more available for the working classes.

The society opened its current head office at Permanent Building on the corner of Regent Street and Church Street, Barnsley, in 1938. The newly built head office was opened by Henry Lascelles, 6th Earl of Harewood who at the time was president of the Yorkshire county association of building societies. By the 1950s the society's assets were strong and 15 branches existed, spreading from Blackpool in Lancashire to Dartford in Kent. According to expert historians[who?] during this period the society briefly threatened to become a large national society but was soon dwarfed by other societies who grew through mergers and acquisitions rather than naturally.

During the 1970s the society rejected opportunities for possible mergers with the South Yorkshire BS and the Elsecar, Hoyland and Wentworth Saving society who were smaller local societies that were looking for merger partners. However, the age of possible expansion passed the society by and several longtime employees[who?] believe that during this period the Barnsley was better placed than others to expand and take the Barnsley brand nationwide.

During the late 1970s increased competition from other expanding societies such as the Halifax and the Bradford and Bingley the Barnsley lost ground and by one stage in the 1980s the society had contracted to a single Barnsley office and maintained part-time agencies at Wombwell and Mexborough due to increased competition and regulation.

Barnsley Building Society, Wakefield.

After an influence of more modern thinking and helped by the 1986 act which lifted many hurdles it faced with competing with retail banks it soon recovered and branches were re-opened at Wombwell and Mexborough. Offices at Royston and Hemsworth soon followed but these were short lived and closed in 1989. During the early 1990s the society expanded once again and new branches were opened in Wakefield, Rotherham and Chesterfield. In 2001 the society's Wombwell and Mexborough offices were re-located to better premises and the Wombwell branch was refurbished shortly afterwards in 2006, during which period the society operated from a temporary location in Wombwell council offices. During the mid-1990s the society opened a second Barnsley office in the town's Alhambra Centre. Also during the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s the society carried out a rapid agency expansion programme and agencies were opened throughout Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Derbyshire as well as more local sites such as Wath, Royston and Penistone, however due to increased costs and declining retail funding these agencies were closed in early 2006. In 2004 it was decided to merge the Church street and Alhambra branches and the society opened a new flagship branch on Cheapside, a prime location within Barnsley town centre.

In October 2008, the society announced that it expected to lose up to £10 million which it had deposited with Icelandic banks. In order to mitigate the situation, the Yorkshire Building Society agreed to take it over by the end of the year. The merger completed on 31 December 2008, at which point Barnsley Building Society became a trading name of Yorkshire Building Society. The Yorkshire has expressed a desire to keep the Barnsley brand alive and run its eight branches as a separate trading brand. This news has been welcomed by many former Barnsley members and Barnsley staff. The merger was however was somewhat controversial as several members of the FSA believed the merger was unnecessary as the Barnsley had substantial reserves to cover the losses and battle on however the board of the Barnsley believed that in the uncertain times caused by the credit crunch the Barnsley's members would be better served by merging with the Yorkshire building Society. The Barnsley despite its expected losses was still a valuable commodity and it was rumoured several other societies were interested due to the Barnsley's strong mortgage book and funding streams which were in place without excessive lending from the money markets.[1]

At the time of the merger, the society had 8 branches located at Barnsley, Cudworth, Chesterfield, Doncaster, Mexborough, Rotherham, Wakefield & Wombwell as well as its Regent Street Head office. It was the 34th largest in the United Kingdom based on total assets of £376 million as at 31 December 2007.[2] and was a member of the Building Societies Association.

Present day[edit]

Barnsley today is part of the Yorkshire Building Society Group, which comprises; Yorkshire Building Society, Chelsea Building Society, Norwich and Peterborough Building Society, Accord Mortgages, and Egg Banking. All brands (except Egg), have a distinctive and active presence in the UK. Collectively the group employs 4,100 staff throughout the UK and services 3.5 million members.[3]

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