Penrith building society Rory in discussion on local and national challenges

Rory met with representatives of Penrith Building Society at their office on King Street where he sat down with senior management to discuss their successes to date and challenges over the coming months and years, as well as the local impact of the Chancellor’s budget.

Penrith Building Society took the opportunity to discuss a number of their key achievements over 2012, including their record levels of lending, an increase in customer numbers, zero complaints, and holding the highest capital ratio of any building society in the UK. The meeting primarily served as an opportunity however to discuss the difficulties many small building societies currently face, and to look at additional ways in which Penrith Building Society could help facilitate local development projects, such as community affordable housing schemes or broadband infrastructure. The society’s specialist local knowledge and flexibility leave it well placed to offer lending support to local “Big Society” initiatives.

A primary concern for the Society is the difficulty small building societies currently face in accessing the Government’s Funding for Lending Scheme. The Bank of England’s current upfront costs make it too expensive and drawn out for a small building society to access the scheme, and this clearly leaves larger banks and building societies with an unfair advantage. Rory agreed to work with Penrith Building Society to raise the issue with the Treasury to see if a workable solution can be drawn up that would remove some of the administrative and financial obstacles for smaller building societies.

Amyn Fazal, Chief Executive of Penrith Society Building said:

“I was extremely pleased to have the opportunity for myself and our board of directors to engage the support of Rory Stewart our staff were energised by his enthusiasm and knowledge of the sector and the issues facing our local community.”

Rory said:

“It was really valuable to sit down with representatives from Penrith Building Society and learn of their fantastic commitment to understanding and supporting the local area. With the Chancellor’s budget still at the forefront of everyone’s mind, it was an ideal time to meet with a local building society, and I am keen to work with them to ensure fairer regulation that will ultimately mean more competitive lending to local businesses and residents in Cumbrian communities.”

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