Building Societies Members Association and You
Please let people know about this site. Do not allow yourself to be used as voting fodder – vote AGAINST everything on the ballot paper.
Always use your vote BUT:-
- NEVER USE THE INFAMOUS “QUICK VOTE”
- MAKE SURE YOU READ THE INSTRUCTIONS VERY, VERY CAREFULLY
- READ AND CHECK THE REVERSE SIDE OF THE VOTING PAPER
- CHECK FOR A TICK BOX BURIED IN THE SMALL PRINT
This box may be on the front or the back of the ballot paper and may be an “opt out” or an “opt in” box. In most cases it is deliberately intended that you do not see it.
If this box is on the ballot paper and you do not follow the instructions you may be giving your vote away. This tactic demonstrates the low level to which directors are willing to sink.
The standard of corporate governance of building societies is very poor. Building society voting papers are not democratic like general election voting papers. Directors may arrange them and any accompanying literature so that you will vote as they wish. Members of many societies will one day be surprised if the voting papers are not distorted.
If there is a member-nominated candidate standing for election as a democratic mutual supporter, vote only for the member candidate and no one else. To vote for people in addition to the member nominated-candidate will reduce the chances of the member-nominated candidate.
Give your support for any resolutions put forward by members to make societies genuinely mutual and democratic organisations just as they used to be.
Beware of any resolutions put forward by directors. They are very often intended to reduce members rights. Members possess too few rights already and directors are keen to remove them all.
Always ask your building society to supply a copy of the Full Annual Report and Accounts, you will not receive one unless you ask. You are always asked to vote in favour of the report but unless you request it you will never know what you are voting for.
If you believe the voting paper or accompanying documents are distorted against members’ interests or if you have not received satisfactory service in any way it is most important that you complain to:-
- The Treasury Select Committee – Clerk to the Committee, Treasury Committee, House of Commons, 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA – Tel: 020 7219 5769 – Fax: 020 7219 2782
- Your Member of Parliament. You can find your MP’s contact details here
- and please send copies to us (and copies of the replies).
Join the Building Societies Members Association (BSMA)
The annual membership subscription is only £5 but all donations are welcome. Membership includes our introductory leaflet, a regular newsletter and our booklet “A Brief History of Building Societies”. Your membership will help us to help you.
Please download and print out the form, complete it and post to the address shown on the form or you can write, email or phone for more information.
- Email: Info@bsma.org.uk
- Tel: 01823 321304
We seek your views. We welcome articles for inclusion in our newsletters and news items for this web site from building society members and building society employees. We want our members to be active in helping us and each other.
If we can get everyone who believes in true mutuality to join us this would be a formidable force to press for changes to building societies legislation that will ensure proper accountability and stop malpractices.
Note: Some societies hold regular members meetings which are like mini AGMs. These are usually fielded by executive directors and provide a useful platform for you to air your views or possibly sort out problems at a higher level. However, they do not advertise them at all well to their members so you will need to inquire where, when and if they take place. They are held around the country and you may be surprised to find that one is being held at a place near you. Nationwide, Yorkshire and Newcastle building societies are known to hold these meetings. Please let us know of any other societies that hold them and if you let us know of any meetings coming up we will keep people advised.
Advise us if you intend to stand for election to a building society board or to present a resolution. We can help to get support for you.
PLEASE NOTE – The Chief Executive of the Nationwide Building Society, speaking on behalf of the society, told the Parliamentary Treasury Committee that he was in favour of part of the board consisting of member-nominated directors.
However, despite that statement and others like it, the directors vigorously oppose member-nominated candidates which means they are opposed to the legislation itself.
So why did a Nationwide Building Society director tell the Treasury Committee something that he knew was not true?