THERE is some information in the disclosure statement issued by StateWest that I believe suggests Home Building Society is the same kind of entity as a mutual like StateWest. It is not. It is necessary that the public is sufficiently informed so as to be able to do their own research on the financial institutions like the banks. The end of the credit union movement or ‘non-bank mutual societies’ in Australia will spell the end of any‘countervailing power’ against the banks, which in fact own the banks. (This can be easily verified by looking at the annual reports of the major banks under shareholder information.) The 20 largest shareholders in banks are banks and hold between 52 and 62 per cent of the ordinary shares issued. American banks figure heavily on the lists. The different names of the banks are mere brand names for the same 20 or so institutions that own them. If one examines the shareholding of most large corporations in Australia, like Coles and Woolworths, the majority of ordinary shares issued are held by banks. Note the pattern? StateWest is a strong viable and unique non-bank financial institution, capable of competing and surviving in today’s financial market place, whilst improving services to its members and should not be demutualised. StateWest’s accumulated mutual assets should be utilised in perpetuity, to benefit future generations of members’ families, not disbursed to profiteering and opportunist demutualisers. Members, regain control of your credit society. This is your last chance to avoid being wholly subservient pawns of the banking industry. Beware Trojans bearing gifts. Vote ‘no’ and attend the AGM to protect your interests. Lewis Louthean
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