The Building Societies Members Association (BSMA) was founded in 1982 as a voluntary organisation dedicated to representing the interests of all building society members – both borrowers and savers.
Our fundamental concerns are for genuine mutuality and democracy in the running and operation of building societies. For full accountability of directors for the benefit of members and to stop practices that are against members interests.
BSMA campaigns to return building societies back to their roots as genuine mutual societies.
BSMA campaigns through Members of Parliament, Parliamentary Committees, Political Parties and through the media to pursue our objectives.
BSMA supports campaigns in specific societies against mergers or sell-offs and for fair treatment for members.
BSMA encourages and supports members, who want true mutuality, to stand for election to the boards of building societies.
BSMA encourages and supports members to put forward resolutions for the AGMs of their societies.
BSMA publishes and distributes a newsletter.
Changes that we seek to implement include:-
- Building societies should adhere to the fundamental purpose of the industry. Ventures into activities away from the core business of providing mortgages should be subject to the approval of members.
- Ballot papers should be democratic and should not be biased or distorted against the interests of any member or members in any way whatsoever.
- All underhand practices such as the infamous “Quick Vote” and tick boxes hidden in the small print should be banned.
- All rule changes should be subject to approval by members, not just some rule changes.
- There should be no fiddling with the meaning of rules through legal loopholes.
- The remuneration for directors should be subject to an annual binding vote.
- If bonuses are necessary for directors to do an honest day’s work, then they should be based on improved benefits for members not on profits.
- The exact detail of the criteria on which directors’ bonuses are based and performances against such criteria should be published for all members to see.
- Availability of the Full Annual Report and Accounts should be properly publicised for all members to see and should be readily available on request.
- AGM minutes should be complete (including Q & A period) and available for all members so see.
- Directors’ positions and compensation payments prior to any “merging” actions should be subject to a members’ vote.
- Sponsorship and charity programmes should be subject to approval by members.
- Savings accounts should not be closed and/or downgraded without proper advance notification.
- Lock-in mortgages should be banned.
- Mortgage early redemption charges should be abolished.
- Mortgage “arrangement/administration/booking/reservation” fees should be abolished.
- Offers of advice and help should be provided to anyone with a mortgage repayment problem prior to any threats of court action or repossession.
To restore the true principles of mutuality to all building societies – owned by members and run for members – not for directors.
To ensure that building society directors:-
- concentrate on the core business of providing mortgages.
- undertake other business activities only in a socially responsible manner and with the approval of members.
- run societies economically and prudently, benefiting both borrowers and savers.
To stop building society directors from:-
- acting against the interests of members.
- treating members as voting fodder.
- continually helping themselves to ever larger amounts of members’ money.
To encourage maximum participation by members in running their building society.
To provide advice and exchange information among all building society members in support of the above.