Visit Northwich where you’ll find a whole host of banks and building societies to choose from; but what’s the difference, and what’s right for you?
What is a bank?
A bank is typically owned by external shareholders and are run across the whole of the UK (or globally), meaning their customers can use their services wherever they live. A bank is usually listed on the stock market and their shareholders have the right to vote on issues that affect their customers, essentially a bank is a financial organisation run for profit and whilst banks will put some of their profits into sustainability and growth, dividends (profits) will be paid back to their shareholders.
What is a building society?
As the name suggests, a building society is quite literally doing that, building society. With their roots dating back a couple of hundred years to when communities would pool their money together to buy land on which to build houses, a modern-day building society has members instead of shareholders and this means no dividends to pay. Instead, members have the opportunity to attend the Annual General Meeting to ask questions and hear plans for the future of the society. And because there are no dividends, you might find interest rates are better and building societies often put some of their profits back into the local community. Typically these will be local to where you live although there are larger high street names such as Nationwide or Skipton Building Societies that service the whole of the UK.
High Street Heroes
With a wealth (excuse the pun) of household names to choose from, we feel lucky that Northwich has remained a banking hub to serve the local community.
On High Street you’ll find Barclays Bank, wheelchair and buggy-accessible and offers on student bank accounts – handy if your 18yo is waiting on A Level results and about to go to Uni, as do neighbouring HSBC who have a £100 cash back offer.
You’ll also find Lloyds Bank who have the benefit of counter service to complement their range of online access. A local landmark, the iconic listed building of the Nat West situated on The Bull Ring has been a Northwich bank for literally years, starting life as Thomas Firth & Sons circa 1928, Mr First being a rock salt merchant. Through various acquisitions, it is now wheelchair accessible Nat West and open Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4.30pm (reduced hours Wednesday).
Witton Street is home to Halifax who also have counter service along with accessible services including a talking cash machine and hearing induction loop. You’ll also find neighbouring Santander on Witton Street where you can get handy help and guidance on using Mobile and Online Banking services.
Most of the services mentioned above are available in most of the banks mentioned.
Home Town Heroes
Northwich is also home to two building societies, Nationwide Building Society on The Bull Ring and Skipton Building Society located on Leicester Street.
Nationwide have renewed their branch promise to be in Northwich until 2026 and their services include advice and help with the Cost of Living crisis.
Skipton Building Society can offer savings and insurances as well as a comprehensive financial planning advice on a range of products.
Which is right for me?
The answer largely depends on what you want; you might prefer counter services or might be happy with paying in machines. You might never need to speak to member of staff or you might need a financial adviser. If you’re considering switching, do your research, speak to friends and family and find out who they use, and make an appointment to go to your local branch and speak to them too.
In fact our main take-home from this article is for you to support your local bank or building society because in doing so, you’re playing your part in helping safeguard them for future generations.
Northwich has some of the biggest events in Cheshire, below is a just a selection of what we have to offer.