Finding a bank to rescue the Presbyterian Mutual Society (PMS) remains the preferred option for salvaging savings in the institution, First Minister Peter Robinson has said.
Mr Robinson said officials were working on a ‘Plan B' involving a proposal from Northern Ireland to help secure 10,000 people’s savings linked to the PMS.
While he previously said the creation of a hardship fund represented a last-ditch avenue, Mr Robinson yesterday told the Assembly a commercial solution was the best way forward.
The PMS went into administration in late 2008 after a run on its finances was sparked by the international financial crisis. But the PMS doesn’t qualify for government support provided to other institutions.
Said Mr Robinson: “We have mentioned in the past that remedies to the PMS situation are complex, but I readily acknowledge that this is cold comfort to those dealing with the daily anxiety about their savings.
He added: “A final report is to be presented shortly to the Ministerial Working Group set up to examine options for helping PMS members. Thereafter we hope to be in a position to share details.”