Legal English – Peter’s Pills – Lesson 58 – Building societies and Banks

Legal English for Notaries - By Federnotizie

Building societies and Banks



What is a building society? If you think that a building society is a company that builds buildings, then this Peter’s Pill is for you.

Banks (banche) and Building societies (Casse di risparmio) are different types of financial institutions that help people and businesses with their money.

Banks are owned by (sono di proprietà di) people who invest money to make profits. They offer many services like current accounts (conti correnti) and savings accounts, loans (prestiti), mortgages (mutui), and ways to invest money. Banks can be big and have branches (filiali) all over the country or even in other countries. The government makes sure (si assicura che) banks follow rules to protect customers and the economy.

Building societies are different because they are owned by their customers. They came into existence in the late 18th century in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and several Commonwealth countries with the aim to help people save money and buy homes. Building societies mainly focus on giving out mortgages (erogazione di mutui) and providing (offrire) savings accounts. Some also have other services like current accounts and insurance. The government also regulates building societies to keep them fair (eque) and safe.

Similar institutions exist in other European countries like the Sparkasse” in Germany, “Caja” or “Caixa” in Spain, “Caisse d’Epargne” in France and “Cassa di risparmio” in Italy.

Building societies have a history of helping regular people buy homes when it was hard to find affordable (convenienti) places to live. They started by letting people pool (unire) their savings to help each other buy houses. Over time, they became an important part of the mortgage market.

In recent years, some building societies turned into regular banks due to changes in rules and competition. This led to fewer (ha portato a un minor numero di) building societies, but some of them continue to work as member-owned (di proprietà dei membri) organisations, just like they did in the past.

Therefore, the main aim (obiettivo principale) of banks is to make profits for their shareholders, while building societies aim to help people save and buy homes with a mutual ownership structure.

Thank you, and see you next time for more Peter’s Pills to improve your legal English.

Read more about Building Societies here: “The History of Building Societies“.

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