BSA calls for “level playing field” in UK financial services
by Gill Montia
The Building Societies Association (BSA) is calling on the Government to create a “level playing field” in the UK’s financial services sector.
The Association believes its members are unfairly disadvantaged in the current regulatory environment, which demands lenders hold higher levels of capital.
The UK’s mutuals are limited in the ways in which they can raise funds and also claim they face unfair competition from banks bailed out by the taxpayer and the government-backed National Savings & Investments.
The latter was recently inundated with applications for its new fixed-rate bonds, with rates of 3.95% for one year and 4.25% for two years.
In addition, last week saw the launch of the so-called “people’s bank” at the Post Office, which will require over £1 billion in government investment, and the BSA is calling on ministers to re-think their plans.
Director general, Adrian Coles, comments: “Building societies are rapidly becoming the only providers of financial services not to be directly subsidised or supported by the state.”
The BSA recently reported a net outflow of savings for the eighth consecutive month.
Balances held in savings accounts fell by £929 million in October; after interest credited to accounts is excluded, the sector saw a combined net withdrawal of £1,240 million.
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