Commenting on the sale of Northern Rock to Virgin Money, Adrian Coles, Director-General of the Building Societies Association, said the following:
"The announcement of the sale of Northern Rock to Virgin Money is a bittersweet moment. On the plus side de-nationalising this bank is a positive step, however we would have welcomed Northern Rock's return to the mutual sector after 14 years' absence.
"Northern Rock had over 100 years as a successful building society, but only ten years as a plc bank before the queues formed outside its branches.
"Remutualisation would have offered many advantages; mutuals are renowned for better customer service and, moreover, restrictions under building society legislation reinforces the prudent approach the sector takes. It would also have helped the Government deliver on its Coalition pledge to foster diversify and promote mutuals."
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Notes to Editors
1. The Building Societies Association (BSA) represents mutual lenders and deposit takers in the UK including all 47 UK building societies. Mutual lenders and deposit takers have total assets of over £375 billion and, together with their subsidiaries, hold residential mortgages of over £235 billion, 19% of the total outstanding in the UK. They hold more than £250 billion of retail deposits, accounting for 22% of all such deposits in the UK. Mutual deposit takers account for 34% of cash ISA balances. They employ approximately 50,000 full and part-time staff and operate through approximately 2,000 branches.
2. Photographs of Adrian Coles are available from the BSA press office, or from the Association's website at www.bsa.org.uk or Headlinemoney www.headlinemoney.co.uk
3. Contact: Hilary McVitty - 020 7520 5926 / Rachel Wylie - 020 7520 5905
Katie Wise (née Errington)
Policy and External Affairs Officer
Building Societies Association
6th Floor, York House