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May's message from our CEO – AGM highlights support for members, local communities & staff

1st May 2024
CEO Image

Dear Members,

I hope this message finds you well as we step into May.

Last week we held our Annual General Meeting where it was great to see a record number of members join us.  It was a pleasure to go through the Society’s positive performance in 2023 and in particular to highlight how we truly lived up to our purpose to make a positive difference to our members, local communities and staff.

Our response to the frequent hikes in the Bank of England base rate last year exemplified our member-centric ethos as we passed on as much as possible of these increases to our savers and as little as possible to our mortgage borrowers. Recognising the potential impacts for all members of the ongoing cost of living crisis, we also provided extensive support services which included telephone resources and in-branch money management clinics. These services are continuing and you’ll find the relevant details on our help and support page. More broadly, we of course continued to invest in the long-term support of members by upgrading our full network of branches, by extending our digital services and by introducing a new state-of-the art mortgage platform.

In our local communities, we stepped up our support for local charities, clubs and community organisations, both directly and via the Leek Building Society Charitable Foundation. Having set ourselves a stretching target of contributing £500,000 to such causes over the period 2023-2027, we were delighted to get off to a fast start by donating some £150,000 in our first year. On top of this, our staff very much played their part by completing 180 days of local community volunteering over the course of the year.

Staying with our staff, 2023 saw further enhancements to our already strong employee proposition which evidenced our deep ongoing commitment to supporting our colleagues’ welfare. Remuneration and benefits were increased and we made a cost of living payment to support staff with their higher costs. We are proud to be one of relatively few employers who subscribe to the Good Business Charter, Real Living Wage and Women in Finance Charter.

2023 was ultimately a year when we were delighted to see record financial performance and a number of national awards, including Britain’s Best Building Society at the British Bank Awards. However, it was more than anything a year when we truly lived up to our purpose, when we made a really positive difference to you, our members, as well as to our local communities and our employees. Please rest assured that we will work hard throughout the year ahead and beyond to continue to support you in every way possible. As a proud mutual organisation for more than 160 years, this is why we’re here after all.

I wish you a good month ahead and as always, thank you for your loyalty and support. 

Andrew Healy MBE