Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Pay day arrives at last for relieved PMS customers

Many local savers who were victim to the collapse of the Presbyterian Mutual Society (PMS), have this week, received cheques to reimburse them of their losses.

PMS savers have endured an anxious wait for their cheques.

Recently, a third of PMS creditors agreed to voluntarily defer some of the funds due to them, so shareholders with total holdings of less than £20,000 in the society could receive all their money back.

North Down MLA Peter Weir said: “The news that cheques are being sent out to local Presbyterian Mutual Society members will come as a great relief to many throughout North Down, and is to be greatly welcomed.

“At last it puts these savers on the same basis as others who have received Government protection through the Banks and Building Society. For a long period of time it has been savers in the PMS who virtually alone throughout the UK have been left vulnerable and financially unprotected.

“This will particularly be welcomed by many throughout North Down which has strong Presbyterian connections, and from whom many of the savers are drawn.

“These are not idle speculators nor those who hoped to get rich quick, but rather those who put their trust in a church based institution to look after their hard earned savings. It is sad to see that some people in effect let down that trust, but that is an issue for another day.

“Many of those concerned where elderly who could ill afford to lose that money, and I know from contacts from many constituents how worrying and anxious the situation was — at last we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel.”

Kieran McCarthy, Alliance MLA said: “This is a positive development for savers but I hope that all savers including those with larger sums of money get all their money back. People have had to wait a long time for this and I am pleased that these cheques have now been sent out.

“The rescue package means that those who had less than £20,000 invested will receive all their money back but those with more will receive 85 percent and the other 15 per cent is dependent on the disposal of PMS property and other assets. This has been a very difficult time for PMS savers and I believe that every effort must be made to ensure that all savers are fully reimbursed.”

PMS was put into administration after a run on the society in October 2008 when £21 million of its £25 million reserves were withdrawn — the main cause for the PMS crisis was the collapse in valuations of development land.

Earlier this year creditors and shareholders of the Presbyterian Mutual Society voted overwhelmingly to accept the proposed scheme of arrangement which will result in them receiving a total of more than £232m in repayments.

Last month, the administrator, Mr Arthur Boyd of Arthur Boyd & Co said: “I fully understanding that awaiting the outcome of the necessary legal process surrounding the scheme of arrangement has been stressful for members and creditors and I would like to thank you for your patience.”

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