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A burden on societies

Last week, some of the biggest building societies posted profits, no mean feat in itself, but profits that were slashed by as much as 50 per cent thanks to Financial Services Compensation Scheme levies hiked up in the wake of the Icelandic bank crash and the Bradford & Bingley bailout.

These mutuals convinced 1.2 million people to take out new savings accounts in 2008, according to the BSA.

Some in the sector have fallen prey to the temptations of the boom years but others have kept up the long-standing traditions of prudent lending, sensible innovation and strong savings that have been sadly forgotten by many high-street banks.

The Government and the FSA should consider ways to ease the burden on the sector. They may need their help in years to come.

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