A CELEBRATED financial organisation has reached a major milestone as it celebrates 150 years in business.
Furness Building Society has taken a look back over its 150 year history and is proud to see that it has retained some of its core values.
Established on October 28 1865, the organisation was initially known as Furness and South Cumberland Permanent Benefit Building Society and was dreamed up by William Richardson Nash, who was recorded in 1861 as farming 500 acres of land near Cartmel and employing seven men and two boys.
Mr Nash was the joint founder of the Society along with Ulverston solicitor, John Poole, and became its first secretary, dealing personally with customers and enlisting his wife and children to help with the work.
The Society's first branch opened in Lawson Street but moved to Cornwallis Street in 1891, just a stone's throw away from the existing head office in Duke Street.
The business began when Mr Poole was seeking finance for building homes to house workmen flocking to the area while Mr Nash was eager to encourage local people to become more thrifty.
Initial intentions were to provide a good and safe investment for people's savings, which is still the basis of the company's ethos today.
Sue Heron, marketing and sales director at Furness Building Society, said: "The Society still places a huge priority on safeguarding the funds entrusted to it by customers, and also ensuring they get a good return on their savings through the provision of mortgages.
"It is the sort of traditional model which instils faith in our customers, many of whom have followed their parents, grandparents and even great grandparents in opening accounts with the Furness.”
However, despite retaining these traditional values, the Furness Building Society is pushing forward into a new era of digital technology and improved customer service as it opens up its newly refurbished branch.
Mrs Heron said: “The Furness maintains its traditional values but it also believes in moving forward to provide the sorts of services and facilities that meet the needs of our customers today.
"So the new branch will have touch screen technology to enable customers to access information they need, in the same way that we are working to provide greater access to mortgage facilities on-line, building on the success of our on-line savings offering.
“We also recognise that many people dealing with their finances, and especially mortgages want to speak face-to-face with people, so our re-modelled Barrow branch will have more space for private one-to-one consultation and we are ensuring that right across our branch network we maintain and where possible improve the access to that personal contact which is so important to our customers.”
Subscribe to our newsletter: get a glimpse of what it's really like to live and work in Cumbria.