Kent Reliance welcomes carpetbaggers

23 May 2006
Building Society Kent Reliance is to scrap the 'charity clause', a rule that forces new members who join the Society in the hope of a takeover windfall to give their earnings from this to charity.

The Society's chief executive, Mark Lazenby, has been branded "short sighted" by the Building Societies' Members Association (BSMA), who do not agree that the decision is good for business.

"Local people are not happy," Edith Davis, secretary of the BSMA, said. "If ordinary members have joined the building society it's because they have been living in the mutuality. They want to look into the future."

The decision means that "carpetbaggers", which Ms Davis describes as those who "open accounts with low sums just to get windfalls when the building society is taken over", will be enticed towards joining Kent Reliance.

Kent Reliance is currently one of the top 20 building societies in the UK and analysts believe the move is geared towards a drive to increase its membership, with a long-term aim of stock market flotation or takeover by a larger bank.

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