Swansea Building Society

The Swansea Building Society, (Welsh: Cymdeithas Adeiladu'r Abertawe), is an independent mutual building society based in Swansea, Wales. It is a member of the Building Societies Association.[1]

Swansea Building Society
Cymdeithas Adeiladu'r Abertawe
TypeBuilding Society (Mutual)
Financial services
Founded6 February 1923
HeadquartersSwansea, Wales, UK
Key people
Ieuan Griffiths, Non-Executive Chairman; Alun Williams, Chief Executive; Nathan Griffiths, Director of Finance; Catherine Griffiths, Director of Risk and Compliance
ProductsSavings, Mortgages, Loans
£5.4m GBP (December 2022), Increase 3.8% on 2021
Total assets£529.8m GBP (December 2021), Increase 14.3% on 2021
Number of employees

The Society was founded on 6th February 1923 by local estate agent John Oliver Watkins [2] and a group of local business men as a mutual organisation to allow purchases of new homes in the aftermath of the First World War. Today it is one of only three remaining building societies based in Wales and the only building society or bank with its headquarters in Wales west of Cardiff. The Society celebrates its centenary this year and remains resolutely independent and true to the mutual principles under which it was first established. As with other building societies, it is owned by its Members and not by external shareholders, so it makes operational decisions with its members always in mind. It has no external borrowings or Government subsidies, being entirely funded by its Members and thus with no external hedging as a risk. Its savers and borrowers are all on variable mortgages (no fixed mortgages) and all Members (old and new) have the same terms and conditions for the products they use - so the operating model is extremely simple and robust. The Society is closely rooted in its communities and only accepts Saver Members who either live in Wales or have a connection to Wales. At 31 December 2022, the Society's total assets were £529.8m, reflecting 27,000 saver accounts and 2,400 mortgage accounts.

The chief executive is Alun Williams.[3] Alun, who lives in Swansea, is an active member of local business life and is now the longest serving CEO of any building society in the UK.

Swansea Building Society benefited from the Icelandic financial crisis in 2009, as local savers looked to invest in a safer institution. This provided a new impetus and the Society has since continued to grow by opening three branches in Carmarthen, Cowbridge and Mumbles in recent years, but in 2021 it established a new additional presence in Abergavenny to extend its geographic reach and provide a base upon which to establish an additional branch. All its branches provide full bi-lingual services for members. In 2019, it relocated its main branch to Portland Street in Swansea city centre, retaining and refurbishing its previous premises that host its Head Office functions. These have now been further extended to provide more space whilst also improving significantly its energy efficiency and processing facilities.

It provides a more traditional personalised face-to-face mortgage service for its existing and potential Members rather than using any automated vetting or screening. This approach delivers flexible solutions for potential borrowers and very safe lending for the Society. As a result, Society mortgage provisions remain low, amounting to only 0.13% (cf. 0.56% as the industry sector average published for the end of 2022) and payment arrears of only £52,000 - i.e. 0.23% (cf. 0.74% as the peer average at the end of 2022).

During 2020 immediately prior to Covid lockdown, the Society successfully launched its first online savings product, together with automated transfers for its savers to manage their savers accounts with the Society alongside their clearing bank accounts. This enables easy transfers from current account in one to higher rate savings accounts in the other, thus gaining the best of both financial solutions. The full range of Society products is available at exactly the same rates - either through branches or online - or more importantly to both current Members and new Members alike.

In May 2010, the Society launched a savings account in partnership with Swansea City A.F.C., earning the club additional revenue through commission. The Society is now a sponsor for Swansea City A.F.C. and retains its close links with its community and local charities. In February 2022, the Society introduced a new set of "Green" mortgages to encourage new or existing members to improve the energy efficiency of their properties, a significant issue in Wales with its stock of older and less efficient dwellings.


  1. ^ "Building Societies Yearbook 2020/21". Building Societies Association. Retrieved 14 May 2021.
  2. ^ "Son of Swansea Building Society Founder". The Western Mail. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  3. ^ "Alun Williams - Swansea Business Personality of the Decade". TheBay Magazine. Retrieved 23 May 2020.

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