Defying your betters …

In today’s mail, a letter from the Yorkshire Building Society (of which I am a member, by virtue of having a few quid in an ISA there) concerning the proposed takeover of the Chelsea, a building society that’s got into trouble.

The letter assures me that “Your Board unanimously believes that this proposed merger is in the best interests of the Yorkshire’s members.” The reasons cited have merit: for example, it will indeed expand the branch network[1], but I can’t help thinking this is just one side of an argument with two sides.

Especially so in the current economic climate, where the powers-that-be are desperate to sweep any problems of bust financial institutions under the carpet to fester, and are prepared to do so fraudulently.  A little over a year ago, the Chelsea was itself the white knight riding to the rescue of a much smaller building society; now it itself is in trouble.  That deal was surely far too small to have had a significant effect on the Chelsea, but this proposed deal is not: in terms of size it’s a merger of relatively-equals.  Who’s to say the Chelsea’s current debt might not drive the Yorkshire down in another year?

Besides, I really don’t want to be complicit in propping up the current government’s policy of mass Denial, which is currently pushing our economy the way of Weimar.  If a small crisis now over the Chelsea can help break that dam before it grows even bigger, then I’m for it.

I’ve never voted against a motion from the board of an institution like this before.  But there has to be a first time.

[1] But since the local branch of the Yorkshire (where I opened my account) closed, neither BS is accessible from here.

Posted on December 4, 2009, in economy, uk. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Your board unanimously believes that, does it? Ask them to put their money where their mouths are. Challenge them: in the event of this merger failing (defined as: asset value dropping below a certain threshold, takeover by a larger institution, or government intervention of any kind) within 2 years, they personally should declare bankruptcy – regardless of their personal levels of assets and debt – thus disqualifying themselves from holding any sort of company offices for a while.

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