Resolutions put forward by building society members place “intolerable pressure” on the boards of mutuals and should be scrapped, says Nationwide chairman Charles Nunneley.
Speaking last week at the Building Societies Association conference in Harrogate, Nunneley claimed it makes no sense in today's environment to give customers stakes in mutuals when they can have- like Nationwide – up to 10 million members.
He said he would like building societies to effectively become trusts which could only be wound up if all the trustees agreed to do so and were supported by the vast majority of members.
Describing the process of acquiring the 500 supporters needed to put forward each resolution as “child's play”, Nunneley said that “resolutions should not be acceptable if they seek to interfere in the management of a society – and that means virtually all of them”.
He claimed members dissatisfied with the management of a society could make an effective protest by voting existing directors off the board and substituting them with their own nominees.
He said: “Resolutions make no sense nowadays when Nationwide, for example, has 10 million account holders and capital accumulated by generations of members over 150 years.”
Save Our Building Societies co-ordinator Bob Goodall says: “Mutuals are democracies and resolutions can be useful but not when they interfere in the running of the business.”
BSA conference, p9