“ Building Society / Formally Leeds & holbeck Buiding Society „
The Leeds Building Society was formally the Leeds and Holbeck Building Society. It was founded in 1875 and renamed itself the Leeds Bulding society in 2005.
The Leeds is the 5th biggest building society in UK (out of 47) with assets of £9,829 million (as of Dec 2011; source - Building Societies Association) and has its Head Office in Leeds. 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 Leeds 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 Leeds 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 Leeds Building Society for about 6 years. I have had a number of online savings accounts with them over the years.
I always open my accounts with the Leeds online as there is not a branch near to where I live. Their online opening arrangements make it easy to open an account with them. Of course, you have to go through the 'proof of identity' requirements, like you would opening any account, but the forms are easy to complete. The accounts are set up quickly and without any hassle - something that it surprisingly unusual in the finance industry.
I find that the Leeds have some particularly good online accounts from time to time, often instant access but sometimes fixed term bonds. At the moment (October 2012), they are offering an instant access saver paying 2.65% - not a table topping rate, but not too shabby either. They are also offering a 3% 90 day notice account with unlimited withdrawals.
The Leeds also offers credit cards, insurance and mortgages. They are currently offering a 95% loan to value mortgages. I have not used them for any of these products.
I would recommend the Leeds Building Society ease of opening online accounts with occasional great rates.
My reviews may also appear on Ciao and other sites under the same user name.
© BobbieAl 2012