David Bailey: The challenges and opportunities ahead for the mutual sector

Speech by Mr David Bailey, Executive Director for UK Deposit Takers Supervision of the Bank of England, at The Building Societies Association Conference, London, 4 May 2023.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
04 May 2023

Good morning everyone and I'd like to thank Robin, Mark, Rob and their colleagues at the Building Societies Association for inviting me to speak today.

I'm delighted to be able to join the BSA conference in person for the first time and meet members face to face. It's an added bonus that we are meeting in Liverpool where there is a building sense of excitement and anticipation, not just about this conference but also about the Eurovision song contest next week.

In recognition of Eurovision, I did think about peppering my speech with references to famous songs from over the years, but my team told me to "Refrain1" as they said 'David, you'll have trouble "Making your mind up2" so I reluctantly agreed to take a "Better the Devil you know3 " approach and stuck with a more traditional format instead.

This year's Eurovision theme is "united by music". Whilst the audience today is possibly dressed 'slightly' differently to next week's, it does bring together a wide range of building societies and credit unions who are united by their mutual ownership model and the provision of financial services to a diverse set of members and customers right across the UK.

At the PRA we recognise the vital role mutuals play in the UK financial sector. Collectively, BSA members manage over £500bn of assets, nearly 15% of assets managed by the UK deposit takers we supervise at the PRA. Also, all 50 BSA members have headquarters outside London enabling a connection with local communities, some members of whom might not have other ways of accessing mainstream financial services. This is further fostered through a network of almost 1350 branches serving more than 26 million members. In line with this, we see our role in supervising BSA members as central to our mission at the Bank of England to 'promote the good of the people of the United Kingdom by maintaining monetary and financial stability'.