Leeds Building Society
Leeds Building Society was founded in 1875 to help people in working communities save and borrow to buy a home. Nearly 150 years later, they’re still a mutual Society supporting the best interests of their members.
At a time when the housing market feels increasingly stacked against aspiring homeowners, the Society aims to deliver against its purpose of ‘putting home ownership within reach of more people, generation after generation.’
This means stopping new lending on residential second homes, which can reduce the number of homes available to live in. It means focusing on first time buyers, with one in three new mortgages in 2022 helping someone onto the property ladder. It means being named the best Shared Ownership Lender eight years in a row.
Based in Leeds, but operating UK-wide, the Society is a key employer in the region, opening its new A-rated for EPC head office on Sovereign Street in 2021. Their support for the community provides over 1000 jobs. The Society has proudly sponsored Leeds Rhinos for over a decade. More recently, they’ve supported Leeds Pride, Leeds Digital Festival and Leeds 2023. Colleagues muck in to maintain habitats along a mile of the canal behind its head office with the Canal & River Trust, and Holbeck Together benefit from free office space provided by the Society.
In 2022 the Society awarded more than £974,000 to good causes in the community, including over £200,000 to its charity partner Dementia UK, who have received over £700,000 since 2020. Making innovative use of its assets to benefit communities, the Society has opened up space in its branches to host free dementia advice clinics with specialist Admiral Nurses, bringing vital support Closer to Home for families who need it.
As a Business Anchor
Leeds Building Society has used the Leeds Business Anchors framework to sense check their Responsible Business strategy. The strategy has five priorities: Affordable Homes, Sustainable Communities, Inclusion and Diversity, Climate and Environment and Trust and Transparency. Good progress is being made in some areas and the Society is ambitious to make a real difference.
For example, the Society has achieved carbon neutrality for its scope 1 and 2 operational emissions through investment in its property network, utilising renewable energy, and offsetting carbon, and has set a target to be net zero for these emissions by 2030. It’s now also focusing on addressing the indirect emissions generated by suppliers and mortgage members.
Similarly, the Society has made significant progress against its diversity targets at senior leadership level and has an active inclusion programme supported by colleague-led forums. They’re now widening their focus, exploring some of the barriers under-served groups face to home ownership and looking for a financial education partner to support vulnerable young people who are financially independent from a younger age.
Read Leeds Building Society’s recently published Purpose Impact Report which outlines progress against the delivery of their purpose.
“Being part of a network of organisations committed to responsible business will allow us to work together to have greater social impact in the city.”
Wendy Carter, Responsible Business Lead, Leeds Building Society