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Take all but £100 out of your Nationwide account, say rebel members

Have Nationwide members got a chance of forcing a vote on the building society’s controversial £2.9 billion takeover of Virgin Money?

Absolutely not, say its highly paid advisers, which include Goldman Sachs. An organisation famous for its support of mutuality (clears throat, straightens tie).

The folks fighting for the vote are at least imaginative. Their latest wheeze is to ask supporters to withdraw all but £100 from their Nationwide deposit accounts.

That’s enough to leave them as members, but would put an awful lot of pressure on the board if enough people did it.

Campaign organiser, Mikael Armstrong, said:

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“It’s clear from Nationwide’s response to the campaign that they don’t care about members’ legitimate concerns. They are not following the law and aren’t abiding by their own rules that are binding on the society.

“Management appear only motivated by greed and have lost touch with what keeps them in work - working for the benefit of their customers, the members and owners of the society. We therefore suggest supporters of the campaign hit them where it hurts most - their pockets.”

Nationwide has not responded to a request for comment.

Another question, and answer, from the rebel members:

Can members vote on the deal even though Nationwide board and management have so far ruled this out?

“Yes. The rules of the society stipulate that members can bring a Special General Meeting (SGM) provided enough members request this. Section 14 of the rules outlines the arrangements.

At a SGM, members can put forward a resolution to a vote of the members in attendance. The intention of the campaign is to call a SGM and pass a binding resolution at the meeting that states: “the takeover of Virgin Money must not proceed without the approval of a majority of Nationwide members.”

This would mean that if Nationwide wants to proceed with the takeover, it would need to hold a ballot of all eligible members. The deal could then only proceed if a majority of members support it.”

Whether they are right or not, Mr Armstrong and co are plainly an irritant to the board of Nationwide. Good.

He adds: “It’s regrettable that the campaign is now having to ask supporters to take this direct action that could harm the financial stability of the society. But with Nationwide failing to put forward a vote on the proposed takeover, or call a SGM to affect the same, this is the best way for members to show their displeasure at the contempt that the society has shown for their valid concerns.”

I think the financial stability of the society rests on not buying Virgin Money. Perhaps they should put it to a vote?