Our decade of difference - Sixties rebels with a cause
The swinging 60’s: a decade characterised by youth driven cultural revolution, technological advancements, national sporting success and space travel triumphs. But whilst the achievements of some were being celebrated, in stark contrast others were being intentionally held back from realising dreams of their own.
In the 1960s single women and men in relatively low paying jobs like teaching found it hard to get a mortgage to buy a home. In fact many male primary school teachers earned so little that their own children qualified for free school meals, making them an unattractive lending prospect. For women, it was even harder, they needed male ‘permission’ to even open a bank account, let alone take out a mortgage. It sounds unbelievable but it’s true.
Making history, not just teaching it: our journey so far
The National Union of Teachers (NUT) was formed to represent the interests of schoolteachers in England and Wales.
Over 140 years later (2017) the NUT merged with the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (itself dating back to 1884), becoming known as the National Education Union (NEU).
Teachers Assurance (TA), formed from the alliance of two NUT initiated societies, starts lending mortgages to NUT members, completing around £15m of business over the next 10 years.
Despite being known as a decade of great youth driven cultural revolution, many found it hard to buy a home. Women as a whole and people working in certain lower paid professions, like teaching, found it difficult to get mortgage finance.
B. Harris-Burland, the General Manager of Teachers Assurance, identifies a growing need for mortgages for both single and married teachers. He decides to investigate launching a separate mortgage business in collaboration with the NUT that would offer mortgage finance regardless of gender.
TA wrote to its members and asked if they would be interested in investing in a building society. This survey suggested they could raise £600k in funding.
B. Harris-Burland wrote to several defunct building societies to ask if TA (with NUT support) could take them over. London Scottish (a small society) agreed, with a sale price of £300 (equivalent to £5,625 today). In November 1966 the name was changed to Teachers Building Society (TBS).
TBS opened for business on 1 December 1966, based at the NUT's London HQ, Hamilton House.
In helping young teachers, TBS founders vowed to give equal treatment to men and women, something unheard of at the time.
TBS approached NUT members for investment with an interest rate of 4.25%. In the first five months the society raised £1.3m. In the first year they raised £4.4m and in first two years they raised £7.0m.
TBS started mortgage lending in March 1967. The first mortgage completed in May, for £3,246 with a LTV of 83% at a rate of 7.125%. The second mortgage was at a LTV of 95%, the maximum lent.
TBS still lends to those with smaller deposits today, helping teachers buy their very first homes.
By the end of its first two years of lending the society had provided mortgages with a collective value approaching £6m, with over 70% going to young teachers.
In 1970 Teachers Building Society moved out of London to Teachers Assurance’s offices at 12 Christchurch Road in Bournemouth.
In 1974 Teachers Building Society relocated again, to nearby Wimborne, where it remains based today.
A decade after TBS launched with an equal lending policy, The Sex Discrimination Act was finally passed prohibiting bias on the grounds of sex or marital status when purchasing goods and services.
In the same year, one in ten of all mortgages lent by TBS were to single women.
New legislation was introduced that removed many of the restrictions on the range of services building societies could offer, enabling them to expand their range of products and services.
During the 1990s many building societies faced campaigns from ‘carpetbaggers’, lobbyists wishing to force a member vote on demutualisation whereby the issuing of windfall shares would financially benefit society members. Teachers Building Society successfully resisted demutualisation attempts.
The FSCS is founded offering consumer protection for deposits of up to £85,000 per provider.Financial Services Compensation Scheme
Julie Nicholson joins TBS as chair of the board. Whilst the first female appointed to the board was Miss M Phelps in 1975, Julie is the first woman to hold the role of chair.Chair of the board
TBS makes a significant donation to its charitable partner of three years, Education Support (ES). The money is used to provide financial grants to teachers during the coronavirus crisis and to help fund a telephone support line for teachers.Education Support