BSA rejects involvement in trade body mega-merger

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The Building Societies Association has rejected proposals to include it in a trade body ‘mega-merger’.

An independent review was published in July after a consortium of 10 lenders pushed for a consultation to address concerns about lobbying costs and to reduce the amount of work duplicated.

Former Ofcom boss Ed Richards, who led the review, made no formal recommendations but set out options ranging from no change to full consolidation of 12 trade bodies.

However, the BSA, which was left out of the early stages of the review but has been subsequently added, argues it should remain as a standalone trade body.

In a letter to Richards, BSA head of mortgage policy Paul Broadhead says: “We have consulted fully, and in a range of forums, with the BSA membership and with the BSA Council (effectively our board). This consultation resulted in unanimous agreement that the BSA should not form part of any new entity due to the distinct nature of the sector, something that you recognised may be the case in your report.

“The building society sector is truly distinct from the banking sector, this includes corporate structure, legislative status and in some areas it is subject to additional layers of regulatory guidance.”

However, Broadhead says that collaboration between trade associations could be improved.

He adds: “We have taken deliberate steps to coordinate more closely with the Council of Mortgage Lenders on matters of common interest this year and we would welcome the opportunity to work more closely with any new entity in which we may have commonality in the future. We would be pleased to continue an open dialogue with the review team as the project progresses further.”