Our responsibilities: mutual societies

Mutual societies are owned and democratically controlled by their members and usually aim to benefit members or the community.

There are more than 10,000 mutual societies in the UK. These include:

  • building societies
  • registered societies (including co-operative and community benefit societies, formerly known as ‘industrial and provident societies’)
  • friendly societies
  • credit unions

What the FCA is responsible for

We are responsible for:

We are not responsible for:

  • registering co-operative and community benefit societies or credit unions in Northern Ireland

The FCA and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) are also jointly responsible for regulating mutual societies carrying out regulated activities. For example:

  • all building societies and credit unions are authorised to accept deposits
  • some friendly societies are authorised to carry out contracts of insurance

Regulated mutual societies have access to the:

Borrowers from societies with consumer credit activities registered with the FCA also have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service on issues relating to their loans.

Members and customers of societies not regulated by the FCA and PRA don’t have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service or the FSCS.

Page updates

09/12/2020: Information changed Coronavirus (Covid-19) update: General meetings - date changed from 30 December 2020 to 30 March 2021.
28/10/2020: Information added update on general meetings during coronavirus.