An early seed for the creation of the Maitland Mutual Building Society was planted in the Maitland Mercury newspaper on 16th July, 1863. The editorial of that day stated:

“A good field for the operation of a building society is to be found in Maitland; the population of the town and district is of such a character as to furnish both investing shareholders and borrowers; in order to ascertain the probable amount of co-operation from both classes which a society would be likely, if formed, to secure at the outset all that is wanting is that the project should be brought before the public by men whose names would command confidence”.

The people of Maitland evidently were influenced by this call to action as it wasn’t long after this, on 13th August 1863, that a public meeting was held at Morpeth Court House to discuss the matter. At the meeting John Whytlaw (Manager of the Morpeth Branch of the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney) was elected Chairman of what was known from October 1863 as The Hunter Building & Investment Society.

The Hunter Building & Investment Society was a terminating building society. Terminating building societies were once very common in Australia. These were temporary ventures where members pooled their funds in the hope of securing their individual homes and when that goal was achieved for each of the members the building society was wound up. A number of those involved in the formation of The Hunter Building & Investment Society sought to create a permanent building society for the region.

This desire to create a permanent building society was largely the result of the land boom in the region which saw financial institutions based in Sydney make use of the situation. As noted in Tom Morgan’s book Mutually yours: the first 100 years of Maitland Mutual Building Society local businessmen “saw no material advantage to the district from the flow of capital out of the town for investment in Sydney, in a multitude of land subdivisions and building projects”. And so, the Maitland Permanent Building Investment and Loan Society was created and the Rules of the Society adopted on October 22, 1888.

As of March 1, 2019, the long since named Maitland Mutual Building Society began trading as The Mutual Bank. The Mutual Bank CEO Geoff Seccombe addressed the issue in a recent edition of Mutual News, “With only two building societies remaining within Australia we feel that awareness of the building society brand is no longer relevant to the community of today. Members will continue to have access to the existing range of products and services, the same friendly staff and all the same rights and privileges that they currently enjoy as a member. The Mutual Bank will continue to be member owned and member focused”.

Furthermore, in the Winter 2019 issue of Mutual News, it was announced that The Mutual Bank were proposing dispensing with the legal name “Maitland Mutual Building Society Limited” in favour of “Maitland Mutual Limited”. Chairman, Trevor Robinson, had this to say on the subject, “It is important we retain ‘Maitland’ in our legal name, if the proposed change is approved. Although The Mutual Bank has expanded well beyond the Maitland municipal area, we are proud to be a Maitland based financial institution for more than 130 years.”

The 131st year of The Mutual Bank has certainly been one for the ‘highlights reel’ - may it continue to prosper.