What it means to be mutual

21st May 2022

At the Vernon, we've been mutual since our creation back in 1924. Since then, we've continued to serve our Members within the principles of mutuality - but what does it mean to be mutual?


Mutuality isn't a new idea, in fact, the concept first came about in 1775 when a group of friends devised a unique solution to property ownership and money management. They realised that it was in their best interest to pool their savings together to buy land and build houses.

As the idea grew, the founders added savers to their 'Society', meaning Members' savings could support other members by funding their mortgages. Property assets would provide security for the savings.

This idea of mutual saving and lending still exists today and is what we now call a building society.

Mutuality and the Vernon

Vernon Building Society was established on the exact same principles which that group of friends had all the way back in 1775. In fact, we still uphold the same values we did almost 100 years ago.

However, that doesn't mean we haven't had to adapt the way we do business; experience and technological development mean we're now more advanced than ever before. As we grow, we take our Members with us, which means we improve only to benefit our Members. We now have more savers and borrowers than ever before, meaning we can help more people save for the things they need, or to borrow to buy a home.

We're not a bank

We think it’s important for our members to know how we’re different to a bank.

Our Chief Executive Steve Fletcher on what it means to be mutual and how we’re different:

“The difference is that most banks are limited companies, usually listed on the stock market. That means they are run for the benefit of their shareholders, so a lot of their profits go into paying bonuses and dividends. 

“The Vernon are different. First and foremost, we are owned by you, our Members. We don’t answer to shareholders so we don’t pay dividends. We reinvest profit into the business for the benefit of our members. Perhaps most importantly though, we still hold true to one of the key principles of a mutual; we bring savers and borrowers together to create a mutually beneficial relationship in which both help to secure the other.”

We're here for you

Being a member means you have a say on how the Society is run. That's why we hold our AGM (Annual General Meeting). From new policies, all the way to which directors run the society, your views matter to us. We welcome your feedback as we're constantly looking for ways to improve, for the benefit of our Members.


Ultimately, mutuality isn't only the way we do business, it informs everything we do. We're proud to represent and support our local community, and through staff volunteering days and our charity fund Community Stars, we can actively benefit those around us. Members are our most important asset, not how much money we make, this means you will always be treated fairly and with respect.