Letter: Women lose in Halifax vote

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The Independent Online
Sir: In its failure to address literature about its proposed conversion to a bank to second-named holders of joint mortgages, the Halifax Building Society is clearly discriminating against many women (letter, 22 January).

What is more, it is also proposing to exclude second-named holders of mortgage and savings accounts from its voting procedure and shares handout. The vast majority of those second-named account holders are women. So it is men who will largely benefit from the shares bonanza if it happens.

I held a Halifax joint mortgage account with my former husband. On the same day of the sale of our shared home, I took out a second Halifax mortgage in my own name. However, as the second-named person on the original mortgage I am not considered to be a continuous borrower. Had my husband bought a home with a Halifax mortgage he would be eligible for shares where I am not.

There must be thousands of women in my situation who may lose financially if the conversion goes through (whether they agree with the idea of building societies converting to banks or not). It seems extraordinary that a major institution is treating wives and partners in a way reminiscent of the 19th-century belief that women were incapable of managing their own financial and legal affairs.

SUSAN THOMAS

Abergavenny, Monmouthshire

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