Council of Mortgage Lenders chairman John Massey has apologised to the Nation wide and Bradford & Bingley building societies after saying they would not survive as mutuals.
Massey, who was appointed chairman in January, predicted that Nationwide and Bradford & Bingley would be forced to convert to banks in the next few years.
His comments were made at the CML's annual lunch in London this month.
Massey, also head of mortgages at Midland Bank, has since apologised to the buil ding societies as well as the Building Societies Assoc iation. He has stressed that his comments were not those of the CML.
CML head of external affairs Sue Anderson says: "It was a personal view and a personal conversation. It was a very unfortunate misunderstanding
"The CML is entirely neutral on the issue of corporate form. It represents the lending interests of firms, irrespective of whether they are banks or building societies. "
Bradford & Bingley spokes man James Evans says: "We were surprised by the remarks but it was a personal view and not that of the CML. He is from a bank and building societies create huge competition for them."
Midland Bank says Massey's comments were misrepresented. Massey was unavailable for comment.