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Building Societies

Volume 130: debated on Wednesday 30 March 1988

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To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the implications for the members and mortgagors of a building society which converts to a public liability company.

[holding answer 29 March 1988]: It is for the investing and borrowing members of a society to decide whether conversion is in their best interests. A society cannot convert unless they vote in favour. The Building Societies Act 1986 imposes stringent voting thresholds and majorities for passing resolutions, and also provides for the members to be given all the material information they need to reach an informed judgment on which way they wish to vote. In addition a society seeking to convert must first obtain a banking licence from the Bank of England. The Government have sought to remove both artificial obstacles and artificial inducements to conversion.