Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point
On Air
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Wednesday, January 6, 1999 Published at 06:52 GMT


Business: The Company File

Building societies hold crisis meeting

Are building societies an endangered species?

Leading building societies are holding a crisis meeting on Wednesday in an attempt to head off attempts by members to force them to convert to banks.

The societies are coming under increasing pressure from so-called carpetbaggers who are chasing windfall payments that will occur if the financial institutions float on the stock market.

The Building Societies Association plans to discuss ways of preventing rebel members from forcing a conversion.


Simon Gompertz: building societies at panic stations
The meeting comes just a day after the country's second biggest building society, the Bradford and Bingley, was forced by some of its members to call a vote on whether it should convert to a bank.

The Bradford and Bingley has halted new account openings to try and prevent carpetbaggers forcing the society to lose its mutual status. Analysts estimate than two million members of Bradford and Bingley could receive a windfall of around £1,000 if it does convert to a bank.

Under attack


Jeremy Batstone: building societies haven't made good banks
Seven other leading societies are also under attack from Michael Harden, the former butler who has become a self styled carpetbagger. These include the Britannia, Chelsea, Leeds & Holbeck, Portman, Skipton and Yorkshire building societies.

However another society under threat, the Coventry Building Society, has thrown out demands that it should convert to a bank and rejected attempts by Michael Harden to get elected to its board.

Big winners

A wave of building societies have converted into banks since Abbey National first took the plunge in 1986. In 1997 £35bn was paid out to members after the Halifax, the Alliance & Leicester and Woolwich, among others, floated on the stock market.

The Nationwide, the largest remaining building society, narrowly avoided conversion after winning a recent vote from shareholders by a very narrow majority.





Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©


The Company File Contents


Relevant Stories

05 Jan 99 | Your Money
Bradford & Bingley battles carpetbaggers

05 Jan 99 | The Company File
Coventry rebuffs carbetbagger





Internet Links


Coventy Building Society

Bradford & Bingley

The Carpetbaggers Accomplice


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

Microsoft trial mediator welcomed

Vodafone takeover battle heats up

Christmas turkey strike vote

NatWest bid timetable frozen

France faces EU action over electricity

Pace enters US cable heartland

Mannesmann fights back

Storehouse splits up Mothercare and Bhs

The rapid rise of Vodafone

The hidden shopping bills

Europe's top net stock

Safeway faces cash demand probe

Mitchell intervenes to help shipyard

New factory creates 500 jobs

Drugs company announces 300 jobs

BT speeds internet access

ICL creates 1,000 UK jobs

National Power splits in two

NTT to slash workforce

Scoot links up with Vivendi

New freedom for Post Office

Insolvent firms to get breathing space

Airtours profits jump 12%

Freeserve shares surge

LVMH buys UK auction house

Rover - a car firm's troubles