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 ...Read the rest on their website and you can find many of Adrian's slides here.