8 Who are the lenders?
Here Jonquil Lowe, personal finance expert at The Open University, presents a tour of the lending industry in the UK.
Although the global financial crisis in the late 2000s caused havoc with the UK financial services industry, the sector is still dominated by banks. This domination had been reinforced by the conversion of most of the large building societies to banks in the 1980s and 1990s – although all those that did convert were then either acquired by other banks or, in the case of Northern Rock Bank and parts of Bradford & Bingley Bank, were taken into public ownership during the financial crisis.
Building societies are ‘mutual’ organisations that are owned by their customers – both the customers who place their savings with them and those who borrow from them (in the form of mortgages) to buy property. This contrasts with banks, which are owned by their shareholders.