Progressive Building Society is an integral part of the life of Northern Ireland despite its humble origins. Born out of the merger of 5 tiny societies it first opened its doors under the "Progressive" name in 1914.
In the early years Progressive was led by Samuel Howard until his retirement in 1940 when the assets of the society totalled only Â£8,000. Samuel Howard's successor was Hugh Brown, a teacher with a vision for the Northern Ireland's building society sector, who subsequently left teaching to devote his life to the organisation. Under his leadership Progressive grew and thrived with assets reaching Â£1 million in 1960. By 1965 Progressive's position was so strong that Hugh Brown began planning a new Head Office building to be built near the centre of Belfast. Progressive House opened for business in 1967.
By the time he retired in 1981 Hugh Brown could look back on 40 years of growth and an emerging branch network. He had also carefully sought out a worthy successor with the drive and enthusiasm to take Progressive to a new level. The new Chief Executive was Bill Webb who brought flair, imagination and new business philosophies to his new role. Under his direction Progressive extended its branch network all over Northern Ireland and created a network of dedicated agents bringing the Progressive service to many small communities not served by the banking sector.
Following the retirement of Bill Webb in 2010, Darina Armstrong (former Finance Director) took over the CEO role and continues to lead a strong and vibrant organisation that has grown to become one of the "Top 10" building societies in the United Kingdom with assets of over Â£1.6 billion, a far cry from the Â£8,000 balance sheet of 1940. Progressive continues to build its reputation for the finest quality of service mainly by word of mouth through the recommendations of its Members. Despite the growing commercial pressures facing the financial services sector today Progressive remains dedicated to its aim of sharing profit by the application of beneficial interest rates that reward its Members for their loyalty and association.
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