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Nationwide, Portman and Chelsea prime carpetbagger targets

At least three major building societies are under renewed attack this year from carpetbaggers looking to trigger windfalls for members.

They include the UK&#39s biggest society, Nationwide, as well as the Portman and Chelsea societies.

Last month, Nationwide gave the go-ahead for a conversion vote at its July AGM despite not needing to put forward such a resolution under its own rules until later this year.

The society says it is allowing the vote because it is likely to be forced into holding a “costly and disruptive” SGM shortly after the July meeting if the demutualisation campaign gathers momentum.

The campaign is being led by carpetbagging veterans Andrew Muir and plumber Stephen Major, who successfully forced Bradford & Bingley to convert last year and claims to have the 250 signatures he needs to stand for election to the board at the AGM.

Chelsea are also likely to come under pressure to convert this year after saver Andrew Naughton-Doe gained the support of 1,000 members for a conversion resolution at the end of December. This is twice the number he needed.

Any vote would be taken at the society&#39s AGM in April but Chelsea says it will “fiercely campaign” against any attempts to force it to convert.

Portman has also recently learnt it is the focus of carpetbaggers after windfall-chaser Tim Tanner last week issued it with a request from members to change rules making it easier to force the society to convert to a bank. The request is being verified.

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