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Building Societies

Volume 978: debated on Wednesday 6 February 1980

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether in the last 10 years any annual return by a building society submitted to the Chief Registrar of Friendly Societies has been the subject of a qualified report by auditors.

Statistical records are not maintained of the number of annual returns submitted by building societies which are subject to qualified audit reports. However, a review of available records indicates that in the last 10 years the number of such annual returns is not more than 15.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many special meetings have been called under section 110 of the Building Societies Act in each year since 1962.

No special meetings have been called under section 110 of the Building Societies Act 1962.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many times since 1962 the Registrar of Friendly Societies has served notice under section 53 of the Building Societies Act 1962 to obtain papers from building societies.

Since 1962 the Registrar of Friendly Societies has on 86 occasions exercised his power under section 53 of the Building Societies Act 1962 to serve notices on building societies, or on their officers or servants, in order to obtain documents or information from them. However, this represents only a very small proportion of the occasions upon which the production of documents or information has been sought and obtained by the registry. In the great majority of cases in which the registrar requires information from a society, or needs to inspect documents relating to its business, this can be and usually is arranged without the need to serve a formal notice under section 53 of the Act.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is satisfied that section 73 of the Building Societies Act 1962 is adequate to prevent the misuse of their position by building society directors.

I am satisfied that, in so far as any statutory provision can prevent the misuse of his position by any person, section 73 of the Building Societies Act 1962 is adequate for the purpose for which it is intended: that is to say, the purpose of ensuring that a building society director who is interested in a contract or proposed contract with his society has a duty to declare the nature of his interest to the board of the society. This requirement is commonly supplemented by provisions in the rules of building societies which prohibit directors from voting in respect of contracts, arrangements or dealings in which they are interested.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps are being taken to enforce section 74 of the Building Societies Act 1962; and if any prosecutions have been instituted in the last five years against officers of building societies suspected of accepting commission for loans.

Any case of alleged or suspected breach of section 74 of the Building Societies Act which comes to the notice of the Registry of Friendly Societies will be investigated with a view to taking any necessary action. No prosecutions have been instituted under section 74 in the last five years.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for each year since 1962, how many building societies have applied to the Registrar of Friendly Societies for approval of mergers; and how many of these were not granted.

A total of 388 mergers of building societies have taken place since 1962.The procedure governing the merger of building societies does not require the approval, as such, of the Registrar of Friendly Societies. The Registrar does, however, have the power to confirm a merger where he is satisfied that certain conditions have been met. But the exact number of cases since 1962 in which confirmation has been refused is not readily available. I understand that the number of cases within this period in which confirmation has been sought and refused is less than 10.I regret that figures for individual years are not available.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer in how many cases since 1962 inspectors have been appointed under section 110 of the Building Societies Act 1962 on the initiative of the Registrar of Friendly Societies or in response to applications from members of building societies.

Since 1962 inspectors have been appointed by the Registrar of Friendly Societies under section 110 of the Building Societies Act 1962 in one case, namely, that of Grays Building Society in 1978. No appointments have been made in response to applications from members of building societies.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many applications were received by the Registrar of Friendly Societies from members of building societies wishing to obtain particulars from the register of members of any society; and how many applications were granted in each case since 1962.

Figures are not maintained showing the number of applications received by the Registrar of Friendly Societies from members of building societies wishing to obtain particulars from the register of members of a society. The number of applications has been few and probably does not exceed 10. Three cases are on record in the past four years in which the applications were granted.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many disputes were submitted to the Registrar of Friendly Societies under sections 93 to 95 of the building Societies Act 1962; and how many references were made to the High Court under section 98 in each case since 1962.

Since 1962, 22 disputes have been referred to the arbitration of the Registrar of Friendly Societies under sections 93 to 95 of the Building Societies Act 1962. In none of these cases was reference made to the High Court under section 98 of the Act.