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BSA to hire seven staff to expand representation

The Building Societies Association will be recruiting seven additional members of staff to its team in the second half of 2008 in a bid to expand its representation.

It says it plans to expand the work which it does on behalf of building societies by representing their interests in the mortgage and housing markets.

The trade body points out that building societies account for over 20 per cent of the deposit and residential mortgage markets.

It claims that independent research has shown that building societies, compared to their competitors, offer lower mortgage rates, higher savings rates and higher standards of service.

The BSA says that building societies are keen to build upon this reputation and believe that their best interests can be served by the BSA representing them in all of the major markets in which they operate.

But the Council of Mortgage Lenders has urged that now, more than ever, the common concerns affecting all mortgage lenders will continue to outweigh their sectoral differences.

It says it will continue to address the interests of all types of lenders and to work towards an improved environment for the entire mortgage market.

The trade body points out that its members account for 98 per cent of UK mortgage assets totalling in excess of £1.2 trillion. CML members provide funding to almost all of the 11.8 million UK households currently buying their home with a mortgage.

BSA’s newly hired staff will play an important role from January 2009 in representing the interests of building societies to the FSA and the Government.

It says in recent years it has concentrated on issues such as the savings market, corporate governance and Treating Customers Fairly, but has invested relatively little in mortgage market issues.

BSA chairman John Goodfellow says:“Recent events have accentuated the distinctiveness of building societies. We have attracted record inflows of new savings in recent months and operate a robust and long standing business model.

“This expansion of representation is a natural step for the BSA and will reinforce the standing of building societies in the financial sector. It will help to ensure that the differences between building societies and banks are more widely understood. This is an exciting time for building societies and the BSA and we look forward to fully representing the interests of the sector.”

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