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The origins of Chelsea Building Society go back to 1875, when the Camberwell and South London Building Society was formed. Three years later, in 1878, the Borough of Chelsea Permanent Building Society was formed. Over the years both societies merged with smaller societies and on 31 December 1966 the two societies merged to create a new society with assets of £36 million. The new society was called Chelsea and South London Building Society until April 1971 when the name was changed to Chelsea Building Society.
From 1966 the Society's administrative headquarters were based in Streatham, with the registered office at 110 Kings Road, Chelsea. In 1973, having outgrown the accommodation at Streatham, the administrative headquarters moved to Thirlestaine Hall in Cheltenham. On 1 July 1988 Chelsea completed a merger with the City of London Building Society, with the name Chelsea remaining unaffected.
By 2009, Chelsea had grown its assets to in excess of £14 billion making it the country's 5th largest building society. It had 35 branch offices mainly in southern England, although the direct savings and mortgage facilities meant that it could truly be regarded as a national building society.
In April 2006 a new Contact Centre in Cheltenham was opened, demonstrating a commitment to offer customers telephone support from within the UK. This purpose-built centre is designed to be environmentally friendly, just one reflection of its strong corporate responsibility pedigree.
On 31 December 2008, Chelsea merged with Catholic Building Society, based in Westminster, London. Founded in the 1960s, Catholic's guiding principles and objectives were focussed on helping first-time buyers, many of whom were on low incomes, and to give single women and widows an equal opportunity to buy their own home. Chelsea is committed to maintaining and developing Catholic's strong heritage and successful niche markets.
Chelsea's growth over recent years has been founded on providing good value products, backed up by a high quality personal service. This has enabled it to fulfil the mission of helping people own their home and achieve financial security. The Society is very proud of the fact that the majority of its lending is supported by money saved by members.
The organisation is constantly striving to improve the services it offers and welcomes all suggestions for future developments.
On 1st April 2010 Chelsea merged with Yorkshire Building Society, then the UK's second largest building society. Following the merger Chelsea retained the Chelsea Building Society brands and continues to offer a full range of financial products to new and existing customers.