The Cambridge Building Society

The Cambridge Building Society
Building Society (Mutual)
Industry Banking and Financial Services
Founded 1850
Headquarters Cambridge, England
Number of locations
Key people
Chief Executive - Stephen Mitcham
Chairman - Jonathan Spence [2]
Products Savings, Mortgages, Investments and Insurance
Total assets £1124 million GBP (December 2015)
Number of employees

The Cambridge Building Society is a UK mutual building society based in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England.[3] It is the 14th largest in the United Kingdom based on total assets of £1,128 million at 31 December 2015.[4] It is a member of the Building Societies Association.[5] The Society was formed in 1850 as the Cambridgeshire Permanent Benefit Building Society, adopting its current name in 1945.[6] There is no connection between this Society and the Cambridge Foresters’ Benefit Building Society which was dissolved in 1960 or the Cambridge Peers Economic Building Society which was dissolved in 1972.[7]


Having been established in 1850, the Society was based at 6 Post Office Terrace in Cambridge from 1884 until 1967 when it moved to new offices at 32 St Andrews Street. Ten years after the move the first sub-branch opened in Mill Road.

In 1979 the Society's assets reached £50 million and in the following years from 1980 to 1984 another four branches opened. The Sapphire Savings Account was launched in 1981 and by 1984 assets had reached £100 million.From 1985 to 1991 another six sub-branches opened their doors, while more savings products were launched including a Monthly Income account and tax-free savings solutions - TESSA and First Account (for young savers). By 1991 assets had reached £250 million.

The rest of the 1990s saw huge changes for the Cambridge Building Society, including agency offices becoming full service branches, another five full branch openings, an increased range of products on offer and a move to the present Head Office accommodation at 51 Newmarket Road. By 2000 assets had reached £500 million and this figure has continued to rise.

The late 90s and early 2000s also saw the development of a number of community schemes including the inaugural Village and Community Magazine Awards, sponsorship of the Sawston Fun Run, and the Society's first annual cycle event which raised £10,000 for local charities.[8]

By 2006 The Cambridge had opened its 22nd branch in Bar Hill, at a time when local banks were closing smaller branches.[9]


In 2016, The Cambridge Building Society was placed first in the Best Regional Building Society category at the What Mortgage Awards 2016.[10] This was the third year in a row that the Society's mortgage team had received the accolade. Andy Lucas, chief operating officer at The Cambridge Building Society said, "With customer focus and community values running through every aspect of our business, it's an honour to be recognised yet again in these fully independent and prestigious awards."[11]

At the Moneyfacts Awards 2016, The Cambridge was Highly Commended in the Regional Lender of the Year category.[12]

Products and Services

The Cambridge provides residential and buy-to-let mortgages on properties located in Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Northamptonshire and Suffolk.The Society offers a range of fixed and variable rate products, including low-deposit mortgages, for first-time buyers, buy to let owners and those looking to remortgage.[13]

Other products and services include savings, (business and council savings), financial planning, home insurance, family insurance and travel money.[14]

Financial performance

In 2015, the Society maintained its financial strength while undertaking significant investment in the business. Underlying profit, after adding back non-recurring costs invested in the IT systems and transition, was £3.1m. Mortgage loans totalled £99m (more than 466 mortgages). The Group's gross capital ratio was up 0.3% on 2014 to 5.7% in 2015 (comfortably above regulatory requirements). Total liquid assets (% of share and deposit liabilities) was up 6.8% in 2015 to 22.5% (15.7% in 2014).[15]

Work in the Community

The Cambridge runs a community programme in which staff support and raise funds for local charities throughout the year. In 2015, the Society raised more than £15,000 for the chosen charities, while staff members gave more than 1,000 hours of voluntary work time to support awareness and fundraising. The chosen charities for 2016 were Camsite, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, Tom's Trust, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Magpas, Eddie's, Wood Green Animal Shelter, Petals, ACT, Papworth Hospital Charity, Arthur Rank Hospice Charity, and Little Miracles.[16]

Following its 2016 mortgage advertising campaign, in which a small girl tries to help a slug find a new home by showing it a variety of shells,[17] the Society teamed up with the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshireto initiate a Homes for Wildlife campaign. Youngsters were encouraged to think about the creatures they may find in their gardens and begin creating homes for them.[18]


In March 2016, the Society announced that five of its branches (18 operational at the time) would be closing in June of that year. The villages of Burwell, Soham and Milton saw closures and, in Cambridge, the branches in Mill Road and Chesterton Road were also closed. Five members of staff were deployed elsewhere within the Society.[19]

At the same time Stephen Mitcham, Chief Executive of The Cambridge, announced a £3 million investment programme to provide online services for customers.[19] "Investment decisions were taken following a full strategic review that considered the changing needs of existing members whilst ensuring future customers were catered for too. Customer feedback indicated that face to face advice and guidance remains critical for big decisions such as taking out a mortgage or choosing between savings accounts, but that there was also a growing demand for more self-service options that made better use of the range of technologies now available to consumers."[20]

Cambridge in the Media

In 2011, as interest rates hit a historic (at the time) low of 0.5%, The Cambridge was featured in a BBC news article as one of a number of banks and building societies offering savings products to "inflation-proof your savings".[21]

Regularly featuring in Cambridge News for its charity work and community initiatives, opinion is also sought from The Cambridge Building Society in relation to matters of national financial interest such as Brexit.[22]


  2.| Who manages your building society
  3. "Mutuals Public Register". Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  4. "Building Societies Association". Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  5. "Building Societies Association Yearbook 2015/16, Page 33". Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  6. "The Cambridge Building Society". Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  7. "BSA Yearbook 2013/14, Mergers and Name Changes". Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  8. "Cambridge News". 23 August 2001. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  9. "This is Money". 26 February 2002. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  10. "What Mortgage". Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  11. "Cambridge News". 21 July 2016. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  12. "Moneyfacts Group plc". Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  13. "The Cambridge Building Society". Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  14. "The Cambridge Building Society". Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  15. "The Cambridge Building Society". Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  16. "The Cambridge Building Society". Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  17. "YouTube". Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  18. "The Cambridge Building Society". Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  19. 1 2 "Cambridge News". 15 March 2016. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  20. "Press Release". Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  21. "BBC News". 7 November 2013. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  22. "Cambridge News". 25 June 2016. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
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