Page last updated at 06:48 GMT, Monday, 1 June 2009 07:48 UK

Angry savers in Church protests

Presbyterian Mutual Society door
The Presbyterian Mutual Society went into administration in November

Angry savers who lost money when the Presbyterian Mutual Society collapsed are to protest at the Church's General Assembly in Belfast later.

Nearly 10,000 savers were hit by the collapse of the society, which was put into administration last November.

Gerald Bunting who kept his life savings with the PMS said he felt "betrayed".

But Presbyterian Moderator Dr Donald Patton has promised there will be a full debate at the assembly on Tuesday.

Mr Bunting said: "We would feel we have been twice betrayed. Once by the PMS and, more hurtfully, by the Church who have failed to provide any meaningful support or help throughout this crisis."

Speaking on BBC NI's Sunday Sequence, Dr Patton said: "We understand that they are angry. They have suffered months of distress and anxiety,"

"The Church absolutely cares. There will be a full debate... a speech and questions. It will be an uncomfortable debate because of the anxiety and emotion."

The Presbyterian Mutual Society is legally separate from the Church.

The leaders of the Catholic, Anglican and Methodist churches in Ireland have joined in calls for action to help the savers.

The Presbyterian Mutual Society was set up in 1982 as an investment vehicle for members of that Church.

Individuals or Presbyterian congregations could each buy up to £20,000 in society shares, and they could lend the society much more. Often they received healthy returns of up to 6% a year.

It got into trouble in 2008 after the government announced a guarantee scheme for savers in banks. It protected deposits up to a value of £50,000.

The PMS was not covered by the guarantee, leaving many savers to conclude their cash would be safer in one of the protected banks. That led to a run on the PMS.



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