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Hints of turf war between mutual industry bodies

In this month’s Lending Strategy interview Graham Beale, the incoming chairman of the Building Societies Association, says he doesn’t think many societies resigned fromthe Council of Mortgage Lenders as a result of the BSA boosting its executive team to represent them when it comes to mortgage market issues.

But a few days after the interview the BSA was happy to confirm that 17 societies had not renewed their CML subscriptions and said more are planning to do the same next year.

“This is not a matter of secrecy,” BSA director-general Adrian Coles revealed to Chatroom. “All that anyone who is interested has to do is go along to the CML’s website where they can see the list of members for themselves”.

However, the website shows that 21 societies do not belong to the CML while the three mutuals that failed in recent times – Cheshire, Derbyshire and Dunfermline – are still listed as members of the organisation.

Curiously, the CML’s records show that 13 building societies did not renew their memberships, along with two because they had merged.

“Shepshed and Kent Reliance didn’t renew their subscriptions last year and before that there were occasionally others,” said Sue Anderson, head of external relations at the CML. “Hanley Eco- nomic is one I remember. And then there’s Century, which has not been a member for years.

“Our exit survey overwhelmingly suggests that the primary reason for non-renewal is financial.”

That’s a position that might raise eyebrows in some quarters but perhaps those hefty contributions to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme are beginning to bite.

In response to the idea that there might be scope for a degree of rationalisation among the trade bodies representing mortgage providers Anderson argues that none except the CML have the ability to represent the whole spectrum of lenders unless they change their rationale.

Obviously, that’s not a top priority among societies at the moment and with four members of the CML being owned or partly owned by the state, who can blame them for taking such a stance?

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