Stephen Major, a potential carpet-bagger in the mould of Michael
Hardern, has successfully brought the question of another building
society’s mutual status to the forefront of press attention.
His demand for Bradford and Bingley’s (B&B) conversion to plc status
has, conversely, promoted the launch of a pounds 5 million
communications programme by B&B aimed at persuading members of the
benefits of mutuality and at highlighting the long-term costs associated
with any windfall payments.
With voting forms recently distributed amid a flurry of media activity
from both sides, the media debate is currently in favour of maintaining
the society’s status.
Analysts suggested that the Nationwide’s close call last year combined
with a successful Bradford and Bingley challenge could lead to a
watershed in the industry’s commitment to hold out against the
carpet-baggers. But the question being put to members is a tough one:
’Is jam today better than jam tomorrow?’ (Financial Mail, 10/1/99).
Evaluation and analysis by CARMA International. Cuttings supplied by the
Broadcast Monitoring Company. ’What The Papers Say’ can be found at: