Press Release 74 date:11.11.99

Subject: Melanie Johnson announces the new number of members of building societies -required to propose members resolutions, requisition Special General Meetings, and nominate board candidates see ‘Note to the Editor’ Bob Goodall comments “SOBS welcomes the changes as being more in touch with the real world. Although more realistic they still leave the door ajar for corporate carpetbaggers with resources to achieve these new thresholds.” “We are aware that it will now be more difficult to introduce our 7 resolutions for the Bradford & Bingley AGM which were designed to strengthen its mutual position before the conversion vote takes place in the Summer of 2000.” “However SOBS is grateful that the Government is at last listening. Although the Bradford & Bingley appears to be wishing to commit Hari Kari -and our immediate efforts to save her could be seen to be thwarted by these new regulations - “overall the good these new regulations will do significantly outweighs any short term one-off disadvantage they pose for our campaign.” “After all, we recognise that there still remain 69 societies committed to mutuality from the largest, Nationwide to the smaller societies who between them maintain a strong presence in the regions -and who continue to provide an outstanding service for their local communities “It’s better than a kick in the teeth!” Although falling far short of what we wanted these new measures will provide a small modicum of comfort for societies We would hope it could help them to get on with the vital work they do. Perhaps not having to look over their shoulders quite so often for the activities of the “mad hatter and his brother ie the carpetbaggers.” AND: The free market will expand the remaining mutual sector SOBS also believe that if the mutual society sector can remain the size it is, the competitive advantage it has through mutuality will allow mutuals to increase market share to the detriment of banks -burdened as they are with extra costs and a rapacious need to make ever greater profits for shareholders.” “In the long term Mutuals will expand and banks contract.” Bradford & Bingley could if it wanted to- benefit from these new measures Returning to Bradford and Bingley we can, and we will win the vote next year to keep it a mutual. Borrowers alone will see to that. However there is an interesting perpective from the point of view of the new measures announced today. “Although the measures make it more difficult for us to introduce pro-mutual resolutions to the AGM they may at the same time offer Chrstopher Rodrigues a lifeline and influence his actions from this date.” “One of the reasons the board gave for following the advice of the carpetbaggers to demutualise was that they feared Bradford & Bingley would be damaged and its day to day operation seriously disrupted by carpetbagging member resolutions every successive year if it didn’t.” “This doesn’t now have to be the case. -Carpetbagging members resolutions would not now be inevitable every year. I hope that Christopher Rodrigues will take his cue from this and the new perspective afforded by these new reguations; and not feel he has to push the conversion message as much as he might have done, in the run up to the vote next year.” “Melanie Johnson’s measures in fact could be seen to strengthen the ability to keep Bradford & Bingley a mutual. It offers the board of the society a new rationale for not going down the path, the carpetbaggers think they can badger them into following.” Note to the Editor The new measures: 1) To propose a members’ resolution -the current maximum is 50 and this will be increased to a maximum of 500. 2) To requisition a Special General Meeting -the current 100 will be raised to 500. 3) To nominate a board candidate -this is a rising scale based on the asset size of the society. Currently from 10 -50. The numbers will be increased from 50 up to 250. Press Release by Bob Goodall co-ordinator “Save Our Building Societies” campaign tel 01727 847 370 (24hrs)