Societies pull rug from under the carpetbaggers

Derbyshire and Cheshire building societies yesterday joined a growing list of mutuals fighting back against "carpetbaggers" by announcing they would refuse to open new accounts from investors outside their regions.

The move is aimed at deterring speculative account-holders from disrupting the service offered by each society to existing members.

The decision by Derbyshire and Cheshire comes as the tiny National Counties, with just one branch in Epsom, Surrey, also said it was sending back cheques to hundreds of prospective account-holders.

A spokesman for Cheshire, the 19th-largest UK society with 60 branches, said: "Recently, we decided that we would raise the balance needed to open an account to pounds 2,500 for anyone living outside our core Granada TV area, where most of our customers live.

"Local people were still able to open an account for pounds 100. Unfortunately, what we have found is that when you set limits like that it tends to make people think there is something going on and they try even harder to open an account.

"The inflow simply wasn't normal. Rather than raise expectations, we have decided to stop people opening accounts with us," the spokesman added.

A Derbyshire spokesman said his society, the 17th-largest with some 310,000 savers and 50,000 borrowers, was determined to remain mutual.

"We have introduced measures to discourage speculative account openers and allow us to focus on a quality service to our proper customers in our own region," he said.

"A general measure is that we will not open any accounts for people resident outside the society's normal operating area outside the wider Midlands."

The spokesman added that the society's seven city-centre branches would bar new openings other than its Crown account, with a pounds 1,000 minimum, or Capital Bond, with a pounds 15,000 minimum, to anyone other than existing customers or those connected to them.

National Counties' move to send cheques back to prospective members came after it was forced last month to close its doors to all new accounts.

The society, which has 15,000 savers and 5,000 borrowers, had been inundated by a speculative flood of money following reports that if it were taken over, members might be entitled to payments worth up to pounds 4,500.

John Milton, general manager at National Counties, said yesterday: "We have been overwhelmed in recent months by applications for new accounts. Speculative inflows are misplaced and unwelcome.

"The general reaction to our decision has been surprisingly positive."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test