One to One: Dudley Building Society chief executive Jeremy Wood

One 2 One

The importance of building societies to certain groups of consumer, a healthy attitude to dealing with the negative aspects of any job, and a Welsh rugby hero

What challenges and opportunities do building societies face this year?

The challenge comes from the new banks. The opportunity? Well, if they can do it, so can we.

We seem to have landed in the right place for those borrowers of a certain age who have been denied mortgages. There are other groups too, perfectly credit-worthy but finding access to finance more difficult than it should be. These people deserve building societies.

What is on the agenda for Dudley this year?

Still more change, more product, even better service. Recently we received a Best Companies To Work For accreditation, which made us all feel very proud.

If you could change one thing about your job, what would it be? 

The real value of a job is if it is fulfilling. I have never met anyone who claims that every part of their job is completely satisfying so we balance the good things and the not-so-good things but try to have a purpose to come to work every day. There is more about my job that I do like than aspects that I don’t. The frustrations are more than outweighed by the successes.

If you were not in your current role, what would you like to be doing?

One of two things: either taking my bike abroad and cycling through different countries or running my own organic farm.

Do you have any secret talents?

I cannot think of anything that might qualify as a talent so does that leave me talentless? For some unknown reason I regularly win games of ‘Cards Against Humanity’. I am not sure if that is something to be proud of.

As a child, what was your dream job?

I thought the idea of playing professional sport for your country while travelling the globe sounded appealing, and I loved cricket. But you have to be good enough.

Who is your all-time hero, and why?

Winston Churchill deserves admiration and gratitude from everyone. He was not without fault but saw what was happening in the world and stood up for his convictions. On the sporting front, the rugby player I thought was fantastic was Phil Bennett of Wales. They don’t make them like him any more.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

A career is a marathon, not a sprint.

Which three people, alive or dead, would you invite to a party?

Jeremy Clarkson, Jeremy Paxman and Jeremy Kyle. Spot a common theme?

COMPANY PROFILE

Year established: 1858
Headcount: 92
Profit 2014/15: £887,000
Mortgage lending 2014/15: £52.2m
Address: 7 Harbour Buildings
The Waterfront
Brierley Hill DY5 1LN

HISTORY
Dudley Building Society was established as a mutual in 1858 and has been providing mortgages and savings accounts for the Black Country ever since. It currently has six branches in the region, three of which have recently been refurbished. The society has around 4,770 borrowing members and 31,063 investing members, and has assets worth £329m.

It announced pleasing results for 2014/15: £887,000 pre-tax profit, new lending of £52.2m and new savings inflow of £9.5m.