Category Archives: Banks & Building Societies

Grays Building Society

Building societies are nice fluffy, trustworthy places, aren’t they? Well, they seem to be today – with the likes of Nationwide being ‘on our side’ and preaching that they are a bank without ‘the bank’. I like Nationwide though – our mortgage is with them – and it’s hard to beat. But this blog isn’t really about the Nationwide.

Again, the advert below is from the July 1967 Essex Countryside. I was going to moan about the £7’8’11% thing again – and the ‘free of income tax’ bit – rather like I’ve done with some other building societies. I didn’t think there’d be much more of interest – especially not for boring old Grays. But as ever, before writing the blog, I’ve done some Googling – and I am impressed with the scandal I’ve uncovered. Read on…

Grays Building Society
Grays Building Society

It seems that for over 40 years, the chairman and secretary of ‘The Grays’ – a Mr Harold Percy Jaggard, had been defrauding the society of funds – which had been spent on women and racing. He’d got away with it until a routine audit in 1978 suddenly started to unravel his malpractice. On the day of the audit, he told his staff he was going out, and would return after 20 minutes. He never returned. He was found dead in his bath, having left his wife a suicide note which said “Do not go to the bathroom alone. For 40 years I have tried to put somebody else’s misdeeds right and I can take no more…”.

What Jaggard actually did was to take advantage of his staff’s general lack of understanding of financial processes. He amended books following staff reconciliation, and also banked large mortgage cheques, ensuring that although the society was not receiving the money, the mortgagee was not out of pocket, and the mortgage was marked as redeemed. You can read more about Harold here.

Although New Road, where the Grays was situated, is practically demolished and rebuilt nowadays, with mainly Thurrock council’s offices on the north side, and just two premises on the south side, it seems that the old Grays Building Society building still exists. You can see it here…along with a delightful local giving the Google camera ‘the finger’.

For reference, following the scandal, the Grays Building Society was taken over by the Woolwich Building Society. Which has since been acquired by Barclays Bank. Thus any old Grays Building Society accounts that have never been closed will reside with Barclays Bank.

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Walthamstow Building Society

Another mind-boggling building society advert from 1967. I think this is actually pretty much the same as saying 4.25% net interest. Though the language here almost implies that the saver receives the gross interest, and the building society, out of the goodness of their heart, pays the tax due.

If I understand this correctly, then tax at 8/3 in the pound is equivalent to 99 old pence in the old pound (240 pence) – which is equal to 41.25% income tax! So taking 41.25% of 7.25p does leave 4.25p or thereabouts.

As to the Walthamstow Building Society itself – well it seems that was taken over by Cheltenham & Gloucester in 1990, with C&G being taken over by Lloyds TSB in 1997. As a result of the de-merger of Lloyds TSB, any old Walthamstow Building Society accounts are now effectively held with the newly formed TSB.

Walthamstow Building Society

Walthamstow Building Society
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Cheshunt Building Society

People bang on about today’s financial products being difficult to understand – but I’m sorry – just take a look at this gobbledegook from July 1967 below. “Income tax paid by the society equal to £7/8/11% per annum”. So how does that work then?

The Cheshunt Building Society merged with the Bristol & West Building Society in 1992. Bristol & West was taken over by the Bank of Ireland in 1997, with it’s deposit accounts and retail networks being acquired by the Britannia Building Society in 2005. The Britannia became part of Co-operative Financial Services in 2009. In fact, many of Co-op’s woes came from the Britannia merger.

Cheshunt Building Society
Cheshunt Building Society
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