Britannia closes doors on carpetbaggers
Wednesday 22 January 1997
The society said it had decided to close temporarily its instant access account, which requires a minimum balance of pounds 500, to new customers after more than 7,000 people clamoured to become members. Other accounts with a higher opening deposit are still open.
A spokesman said Britannia had been forced to act after queues began to form at all its branches in the wake of reports suggesting its demutualisation was imminent.
John Heaps, Britannia chief executive, said: "This is not on the agenda and there are no fast bucks to be made from Britannia. We have said repeatedly, Britannia will not convert and there is no windfall in prospect."
The new windfall frenzy to grip the Britannia came amid signs that the Building Societies Bill, long touted as offering protection to mutuals from the unwelcome attention of converting societies, including Halifax, Woolwich, Northern Rock and Alliance & Leicester, may not make it on to the statute book after all.
Angela Knight, Treasury Minister, is hoping to find parliamentary time for the Bill, which removes a five-year protection from takeover against former societies which themselves move against other financial targets.
A Treasury spokeswoman said it was still hoped the Bill could make its way through the Commons.
However, it is believed that unless time is given to the Bill in the next few weeks, the increasing likelihood of an early general election may lead to it being lost. Despite the likely failure of the Building Societies Bill to succeed, evidence mounted of the continuing resilience of societies. Figures from the Building Societies' Association showed its members lent pounds 13bn last year, 48 per cent more than in 1995.
By contrast, lending by members of the British Bankers' Association was up just 5 per cent on 1995 despite the addition for the first time of National & Provincial, taken over by Abbey National, and the first full year of lending within the banking sector by Cheltenham & Gloucester.
Rob Thomas, analyst at UBS, the Swiss banking group, said: "The building societies have succeeded in pushing their share of lending up from 60 to 70 per cent in the past year... those loyal to mutuality have been the most competitive."
Mr Thomas pointed to the mounting competition between banks and mutuals for the decision yesterday by Abbey National to raise its savings rates by up to 0.6 per cent on some accounts.
- 3 Indonesia executions: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford will refuse to wear a blindfold when she faces firing squad
- 4 Oxygen-starved 'dead zones' with no marine life up to 100-miles long discovered in the Atlantic Ocean
- 5 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
Lucy Hawking: Stephen Hawking's daughter writes impassioned open letter to Katie Hopkins about rights of disabled people
Indonesia executions: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford will refuse to wear a blindfold when she faces firing squad
Oxygen-starved 'dead zones' with no marine life up to 100-miles long discovered in the Atlantic Ocean
How the language you speak changes your view of the world
Russian warships accused of 'chasing away' Swedish vessel to prevent Baltic States from achieving energy independence
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
iJobs Money & Business
£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...
£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Online customer Service Admi...
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global, industry leading, ...