Society chief exec says farewell

AFTER close to 20 years at the helm, one of the town's top financial figures is today stepping down as chief executive of Ipswich Building Society.

AFTER close to 20 years at the helm, one of the town's top financial figures is today stepping down as chief executive of Ipswich Building Society.

During the tenure of 57-year-old John Whayman the society has expanded to more than 80,000 accounts with a third of a billion pounds worth of assets.

This year the society, based in Upper Brook Street, saw its profits increase by 24per cent during the year ending November 30.

Mortgage lending increased by 78pc to £88.56million and the balances held by the society went up by nearly 12pc to £268m.

Mr Whayman told The Evening Star he is happy to leave the society in a strong position to tackle the challenges ahead.

He said: “I have left a good executive team here who I believe can take the society forward.

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“Competition in financial markets will continue to get tougher and tougher.

“It is a very open market and there are lots of new people going into the internet.

“We need to continue developing so we can offer services that people expect today.

“There are challenges ahead but I have every confidence the new executive team will be facing up to those challenges.”

When Mr Whayman first joined the society aged 17 in 1967 there were just 14 staff.

There are now 125 employees.

Despite playing such a key role in the society's continual development over the years Mr Whayman said he was confident his decision to hand over the reigns will not prove too much of a wrench.

He said: “I'm quite relaxed about my retirement in a sense.

“People say you must feel like it is going to be a big wrench but I suppose if you work as I have you have to cope with lots and lots of change.

“There has been tremendous change since I have been here and this is just another change in my life effectively.

“I am looking forward to a new change in direction and the society will be in good hands.

“I feel very honoured to have had the opportunity to lead the society.”

Ipswich Building Society:

When John Whayman joined the society in 1967 there were no branch offices - just one office in Upper Brook Street.

At that time the society had 14,000 accounts and assets of just over £5million even though it had been in existence since 1849.

The toughest time for the society came in the late 80s and early 90s during the housing crash.

Prior to the crash there had been around 500 building societies nationwide - there are currently less than 60.