What does it mean to have a share in the Society?
Members of Ipswich Building Society have many reasons for joining and staying with us, but not always the reasons you might think.
Of course some people are drawn to us for our friendly service or our local branch presence, and others simply because we're not a bank.
But why do members stay being members? The stories below provide a taste of what membership of Ipswich Building Society means to a cross section of our membership.
Wayne and Joanna Newman - A new home for Daisy
Wayne and Joanna Newman were renting a home adapted for their five-year-old daughter Daisy, who has severe cerebral palsy – but then the landlord had to sell.
'We had nowhere to go,' says Wayne. 'We couldn't find a suitable house within ten miles, and Daisy can't travel that far to her school.' Wayne wrote to his MP and Orwell Housing Association for help. Orwell said they would buy half of their existing home if the Newmans got a mortgage for the other half. Orwell Housing Association suggested they talk to us about a mortgage for the
other half. The Newmans' household income consisted of a part-time job and benefits as carers for their disabled daughter. Because we assess each case individually, we could see that the Newmans could afford the mortgage they needed for their half of the property.
Peter Golder, Hadleigh, Member for 40 years
We joined because that long ago it wasn't easy to get a mortgage, building societies were really the only option...
We chose Ipswich primarily because it is local, it's part of the community and it's good to have someone local you can talk to if there's a problem.
We also have local bank accounts for much the same reason, but Ipswich Building Society offers something different to the bank. Because it is a mutual and owned by its members you feel a greater sense of belonging, more connected and that means more.
Of course one can shop around and probably find better rates from time to time, but it's not always rates that are the most important thing for us, it's the whole package.
We've always been happy with the service our local branch provides. The staff are very helpful, you get to know them and they do everything they can to find answers to your questions.
Having a share in the society is important too. I don't think it's very likely that as an individual one can really influence very much, but if you see something happening that you don't agree with you can tell someone and they will listen to your views. If it's something that enough people feel strongly about I do think you can influence a change.
Andrew Johnson, Member 5 for years
We joined when looking for somewhere for a retirement investment. Although we were offered many suggestions by our financial adviser, we wanted local accounts with access and a traditional service... Read more...
We take an interest in how our money is managed, but we're not obsessed with it, for us the service is just as important. The service at all the branches we've visited is friendly, there's rarely a queue and you develop a rapport with the staff.
Ipswich is more of a relaxed experience than some other financial institutions. That appeals to us. They don't make you jump through hoops or ask for your blood group just to obtain a balance. Nor do they endlessly try to push other products.
We like the independence too, unlike bigger organisations, nothing is hidden. We read the annual reports and keep an eye on things because the information is published and they encourage that kind of participation.
You feel that Ipswich Building Society is exactly what you see, and that inspires confidence in how your money's being handled.
John Cook, Member 1.5 years
We found Ipswich Building Society to have the best available rate for a cash ISA when we were looking to deposit money following our retirement.
They operate a leaner machine and focus on customers rather than making profits for shareholders. That makes sense financially as they are able to narrow the margin between the rate they charge to borrowers and the rate they offer savers, which works in our favour.
We have other accounts and ISAs elsewhere, including other building societies, and there's not generally much to choose between them, but Ipswich Building Society stands out. In particular we were happily surprised to be invited to various events promoting local places and organisations.
It is an unexpected benefit of membership which we find fits well with our lives these days. It's also the kind of thing that makes us want to stay, if there's a suitable product on offer when our fixed rate period ends.
What makes you stay?
Whatever the reason you're a loyal Ipswich Building Society member, we'd love to hear about it.