Page 6: Conclusion
In recent times a small number of former building societies have moved away from their roots to become public limited companies. However, in doing this, the essential contact point they have with their owners is immediately lost. The new owners become shareholders instead of members, and will be more interested in share prices and dividends than customers. Becoming a public company has obvious short term advantages, but in the longer term it is not necessarily a wholesome proposition.
In contrast, Britannia has chosen to keep to its principles. It has seen the unique relationship that it has with its members/customers as being its key strength. In a competitive environment it has chosen the path of building even stronger customer relationships as being the route to successful growth. The Chief Executive of Britannia has set out this strategic plan in the following way:
'Being mutual allows us to concentrate on our mission: To improve the financial health of our members and customers by satisfying their evolving borrowing, investment and protection needs.'
The implication is that by taking an alternative route, e.g. becoming a public limited company would act as a distraction whereby the organisation would lose its way and forget its real purpose.