Great write-up by David Calder for the Caledonian Mercury of Monday night's meeting in Edinburgh:
Do building societies have a future?
That will be at the heart of
discussions at the Building Societies Association annual conference in
Manchester next week and it was the topic for debate at a meeting of the
Financial Services Club in Edinburgh last night.
The Director General of the Building Societies Association, Adrian
Coles, acknowledged that parts of the sector have been under stress. He
showed slide after slide detailing its woes: the shrinking size of the
market; repossessions up and savings down; the number of owner occupiers
dropping for the first time since the 50s; the fall in new lending –
down 88% – and the 60% fall in transactions.
He claimed that one of the reasons why building societies had “got
into a mess” in the final years of the 20th century was that “…the FSA
didn’t set up a dedicated building society team until 2008. And our
problems came at the same time as the major banks were collapsing. They
felt they had to focus on those financial institutions that could bring
the economy down.”
But curiously, he was not pessimistic about the sector’s future …