Skipton Building Society

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Skipton Building Society
Industry Financial services
Founded 1 May 1853 (Skipton)
1845 (Chesham)
Headquarters Skipton, England, UK
Key people
David Cutter, Chief Executive
Products Financial services
Total assets £15.98 billion GBP (December 2014)
Slogan For life ahead

The Skipton Building Society is a building society in the United Kingdom (also known as a mutual lending and savings organisation as it is owned by the members).[1] It is a member of the Building Societies Association.

The Society was established in 1853 in Skipton, North Yorkshire, where it remains headquartered. It is the UK's 4th largest building society and has over 794,000 members and 100 branches. Its pre-tax profit was £156.8 million for 2014. The Society has several subsidiary companies, mostly in the financial services industry[2] These include Connells Group, one of the largest estate agency networks in the UK with 485 branches across the country.[3] In 2010, it merged with the Chesham Building Society, founded in 1845, which was at the time the world's oldest surviving building society.

Group Companies[edit]

Mortgage and savings - Amber and North Yorkshire Mortgages

Estate Agency - Connells Group

Financial Advice - SFS

Investment Portfolio - includes PHP, Jade and others


[4] 1853 - The Skipton Permanent Benefit Building Society is established at a public meeting in Skipton, West Riding of Yorkshire, held at the old Town Hall (now a pizzeria). Samuel Farey (1822-1895) a cotton mill owner and George Kendall, a timber merchant, are amongst the founders of the Society. They are benevolent, wealthy industrialists who have prospered from the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s, establishing the new Society as a safe place to deposit savings, with a return on investment offered.

1854 - First Annual Meeting of Skipton and District Permanent Benefit Building Society is held. The Society has 223 Members and £2,951.16s.8d in balances.

1879 - 1,185 members, £47,129 balances.

1892 - Head Office moves to 11 Newmarket Street from its home at the Old Post Office.

1895 - Samuel Farey dies, aged 73.

1903 - The Society becomes incorporated. It now boasts 1,532 Members and £82,305 in balances.

1921 - The Head Office moves a few yards along the street to numbers 5 & 7 Newmarket Street, Skipton.

1922 - Branches open in Nelson, Blackpool and Lytham, soon followed by branches in other towns and cities.

1923 - Henry Smith's (the draper's shop at 59 High Street) is bought in Skipton, with a view to demolishing the shop to make space for a brand new Head Office.

1928 - The new Head Office in Skipton town centre is opened by The R.t Hon. Philip Snowden, Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Labour Government.

1929 - In the year of The Wall Street Crash, the Society holds assets of £1 million.

1945 - The Second World War ends and the Society holds assets of £5 million.

1950 - Assets double in five years to £10 million.

1953 - The Society celebrates its Centenary, holding assets of £11.7 million.

1956 - Assets rise to £14 million.

1958 - Assets stand at £15 million.

1963 - Assets grow to £25 million.

1974 - Assets have now reached £100 million.

1977 - Assets stand at £150 million.

1978 - A five-storey extension to the rear of the High Street Head Office is built, to house over 200 staff. It occupies part of the site where the first office opened in 1853 (in Providence Place). This year also sees the installation of the very first computer (a Burroughs B3700) in the new Skipton Administration Centre. Skipton Building Society now has 32 branches and 75 agencies throughout the UK, holding more than 125,000 accounts.

1990 - The Bailey, the Society's modern new premises on Harrogate Road, Skipton is built.

1992 - John Goodfellow becomes Chief Executive

1998 - The Bailey is further extended.

2005 - Featured in Private Eye magazine accused of hiding £30 million of losses at subsidiary CallCredit PLC and buying its main computer system from near bankrupt IT company, JADE software corporation.

2008-10 - Closes sub-prime lending vehicles, with over £1,920,000,000 of money lent to potentially risky, sub-prime clients.

2009 - Takes over the former Scarborough Building Society; numerous redundancies and branch closures despite previous promises of no redundancies.

2010 - Skipton Building Society merges with The Chesham Building Society - at the time, the world's oldest surviving building society, founded in 1845.

2014 - Sells HML, PHP and Torquill Clark


The Skipton Building Society bailed out the former Scarborough Building Society on 31 March 2009.[5]

The Scarborough Building Society had encountered difficult trading conditions which had a significant impact on profitability and a weakening of the Society's resources. As a result, the board of The Scarborough concluded the effect of continuing UK house price instability and growing prospect of recession, the best way to protect its members' interests would be to seek a buyer.

Scarborough's former Chief Executive, John Carrier, retired on 31 December 2008.

After the take over, the majority of employees from the original Scarborough Building Society were made redundant and the headquarters closed.

On 1 June 2010 the building society merged with the Chesham Building Society following the latter's financial difficulties.[6]


In 2015, Skipton Building Society was ranked as the 2nd best Financial Services Organisation for Customer Service by it's members in a report published by KPMG Nunwood. Overall, the society was ranked as the 7th best company in the UK for delivery of excellent customer service.[7] This was an improvement from it's previous position in 2014 as the 13th best company in the UK, the 3rd ranking Financial Services Organisation.

The building society entered the Times Top 100 Companies to work for in position 58 also in 2015.[8]

Other awards in 2015 include:[9]

  • Customer Focus Award The Institute of Customer Service UK Customer Satisfaction Awards
  • Best Specialist Lender Legal & General Mortgage Club for specialist New Build Mortgages
  • Best National Building Society What Mortgage Awards 2015
  • Best Direct Junior Cash ISA Provider
  • Best Junior/Children's Savings Provider The Personal Finance Awards
  • Gold Award Grassroots Giving Community Funding Scheme Corporate Engagement Awards for Best Alignment of Brand Values During a CSR Programme


Former Chief Executive John Goodfellow's tenure at SBS was perceived as controversial by some with Goodfellow's annual paypacket of £630,000 the highest for any Building Society chief.[10]

In 2008 Goodfellow received £1,244,000, despite him being required to leave early from his service contract. He was also allowed to accrue pension benefits in the Skipton Building Society Pension & Life assurance Scheme until the end of 2009. Skipton waived any early retirement discount factors applicable to his benefits in the scheme, enabling him to access his £2.3 million pension pot from 10 January 2010 without fear of any penalty.[11]

When Skipton announced it was taking over the Scarborough Building Society in November 2008 society chiefs told staff no jobs would be lost compulsorily in the process. However just months after the assurances 30 Scarborough jobs were lost when the societies merged[12] and it made public on 27 January 2010 that a further 90 job losses are in the pipeline.[13] The Scarborough Building Society site was initially occupied by Skipton subsidiary HomeLoan Management Ltd, but was later abandoned and is now for sale.

Skipton reneged on its promise to keep the SVR tracker no more than 3% above base rate citing an "exceptional circumstances" clause in their agreement, potentially putting thousands of borrowers out of pocket.[14] On 4 March 2009 Skipton CEO reiterated that Skipton had made the 3% pledge and would keep it.[15]

Skipton suffered a serious breach of data security in 2009 when over 3,000 savers received financial details about other customers. When Skipton mailed 108,000 account statements to savers on the weekend of 23–24 January 2010, 3,115 went out with the name, account number, balance and interest earned in the previous year of different customers printed on the reverse of the letters.[16]

This followed an Information Commissioner's Office finding, in 2008, that Skipton was in breach of the Data Protection Act, following the theft of an unencrypted laptop left by a third party contractor at a gym. The unprotected information lost included names, dates of birth, national insurance numbers and investment amounts of 14,000 customers.[17]

Skipton Building Society was featured in the "In The Back" section of Private Eye Magazine in June 2005 accused of failing to disclose a £30 million loss at CallCredit PLC, a subsidiary company, and the John Goodfellow sponsored purchase of a £3.5 million core IT systems from a loss making IT company which it subsequently had to rescue at the cost of £10  million of members' savings.[18]

Skipton Building Society owns two subprime mortgage businesses North Yorkshire Mortgages (acquired as part of the Scarborough merger) and Amber Homeloans (previously Skipton Mortgages Limited) which closed to new business in 2008 by which time the company had grown to around £1,500,000,000 of sub-prime, high risk loans or "assets" (mortgage loans) as described by SBS.

Skipton Building Society's credit rating has increasingly been reduced by major credit rating agencies over the last years, although has recently begun to be upgraded.[19]


  1. ^
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  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Chesham Merger Announcement Skipton Building Society
  7. ^ "National CEEC Analysis - KPMG Nunwood". KPMG Nunwood. Retrieved 2 December 2015. 
  8. ^ "The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies". Global Senior Executive Jobs | The Times & The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2 December 2015. 
  9. ^ "Our Awards - Skipton Building Society". Retrieved 2 December 2015. 
  10. ^ Jeff Prestridge (15 April 2007). "Building society fat cats". This is Money. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  11. ^ "The loss of mutual affection at Skipton". 28 January 2010. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  12. ^ "90 Scarborough jobs scrapped by the Skipton - COMMENT ON THIS STORY - Local". Scarborough Evening News. 27 January 2010. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  13. ^ "Skipton Building Society to cut 90 jobs". BBC News. 27 January 2010. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  14. ^ Thomas, Paul. "Brokers hit the roof over Skipton ceiling | News". Money Marketing. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  15. ^ "Skipton pledges to pass on any base rate cut in full". 4 March 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  16. ^ Jeff Prestridge (30 January 2010). "FSA set to hit Skipton with heavy fine for data breach | Mail Online". Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  17. ^ Nikki Sandison (21 February 2008). "Skipton found in breach of Data Protection Act - Media news". Media Week. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  18. ^ Private Eye 18 June 2005, p68
  19. ^

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