Newest Review: ... society rather than being paid out to external investors. I have been a customer of the Chorley Building Society for about 5 years. I... more
Good old fashioned service with occasional great rates.
Chorley Building Society
Member Name: bobbieal
Chorley Building Society
Advantages: Good helpful knowledgeable staff; good rates if you are selective
Disadvantages: Only had branches in Lancashire
The Chorley Building Society is a small friendly building society offering some cracking deals, if you are willing to be selective. Its motto is "Traditional values in a modern world".
The Chorley is the 38th biggest building society in UK (out of 47) with assets of £175 million (as of Dec 2011; source - Building Societies Association) and has its Head Office in Chorley, Lancashire. It is protected by the FSCS, meaning that all savings up to £85,000 per person are fully guaranteed by the government in the very unlikely event that the Chorley were to go bust.
At the risk of repeating myself (the following 2 paragraphs originally appeared in my Coventry Building Society review, but are important and relevant so I have included them in all my building society reviews), the Chorley is owned by its members (it's a mutual society) and so has no share-holders. While this might seem quite a minor difference, it means that there are no big investors baying for huge profits at the expense of the customer, as could happen with high street banks like Lloyds, HSBC etc. It also means that they are governed by slightly different legislation to the banks. They are not allowed to take part in some of the more risky types of investment instruments, such as some derivatives trading, and they are only allowed to speculate if it is to minimize their risk, Whereas the big banks, as we all know, can speculate on a huge variety of instruments and often derive their profits from this speculation.
The advantage of this for the members (all borrowers and savers are members of the society subject to meeting certain minimum criteria) is that there are not likely to be any nasty surprises in the form a huge trading loss, and that any profits can be kept within the building society rather than being paid out to external investors.
I have been a customer of the Chorley Building Society for about 5 years. I first joined because I was looking for a good regular savings account. Since then, I have opened and closed several savings accounts with the Chorley and currently have 3 accounts with them and my children also have accounts
While the Chorley does have some online banking capability - they call it U-2-View - it is more to be able to look at the balance of an account, rather than to make a dozen transactions and open new account. I find this works well for me as I use the Chorley to take advantage of their good rates as and when I can.
All the accounts I have opened with the Chorley have been managed by post. Normally, I would run a mile from dealing with a financial institution by post, but I have found the Chorley to be very quick and efficient. It usually takes 5 days from my posting the application for to my receiving my new account details.
I have needed to telephone to check account terms several times. The ladies (and it always has been a lady) at the end of the phone really know what they are talking about, even when I have asked some difficult and unusual questions. For me, it is the ease of doing business with the Chorley that puts them above the 'run of the mill' building societies.
While some of the Chorley's accounts offer low rates, they currently (Oct 2012) have a great kids regular saver paying 4% on up to £150 per month with instant access and no obligation to pay in every month. Their Santa and Summertime savers are one year regular savers paying 3.5% - not stunning, but not too bad. They also offer reasonable rates for their Young Chorlean (2-2.2%) and Junior ISA (2.9%); not table topping but a good rate without any gimmicks or bonus rates.
The Chorley also provides mortgages and insurance, although for these you have to telephone or visit a branch. I have had neither type of product with the Chorley, so won't comment on things about which I know very little.
I would recommend the Chorley Building Society for good, old fashioned service and the occasional great rates.
My reviews may also appear on Ciao and other sites under the same user name.
© BobbieAl 2012
Summary: Friendly, knowledgable and helpful staff and good rates too
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