Report of the DAG Derbyshire Protest

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2009-10-09 23

SAVERS who feel that Derbyshire Building Society caused them to lose thousands held a protest outside its Duffield headquarters.

The 20 campaigners also waved placards and handed out leaflets outside branches in Town Street, Duffield, and East Street, Derby.

They say that they and thousands of other savers are still millions of pounds out of pocket because the Derbyshire passed their accounts on to an Icelandic bank, Kaupthing, which then collapsed.

The protest, organised by Kaupthing Singer Friedlander Depositors' Action Group, was a bid to get an apology.

Among the group was Jackie Wilson, 61, of Wood Gardens, Hayfield, who was on hand for the release of 250 balloons saying: "The Derbyshire sold us out to an Icelandic Bank".

She said she lost £68,000, of which £50,000 had been repaid.

Mrs Wilson said: "I suspect I was taken in by the marketing. When Kaupthing took over, I was reassured it was going to be more of the same in terms of the guarantee on my money.

"After the event, I was thinking how could I have been so stupid?

"The money was supplementing my pension fund and giving me peace of mind for things like fixing problems with the car or a leaky roof."

Depositors' accounts were with an Isle of Man-based subsidiary, Derbyshire Offshore, which the Derbyshire sold to Kaupthing Isle of Man which collapsed last year.

When Kaupthing's Isle of Man arm was liquidated, the former Derbyshire depositors, some of whom had hundreds of thousands of pounds of savings, were left with the choice of accepting either a £50,000 lump sum – which Mrs Wilson selected – or 24.8p in every £1.

Another depositor, Brian Mallett, came from Newmarket, Ontario, to take part, having had £80,000 with Kaupthing Isle of Man when it collapsed.

The 76-year-old said: "I invested with the Derbyshire after it was recommended by a friend. I didn't have all my eggs in one basket but £80,000 is a substantial amount of money that was supplementing my pension."

One of the protest organisers, Malcolm Smith, 62, of Brittany, France, said there were people who "may have tried to get tax benefits" with money in Derbyshire Offshore but not illegally, adding: "It's no different from having an ISA, for example."

A spokesman for Derbyshire Building Society, which merged with Nationwide last year but still operates under its own name, said the firm's position had not changed.

He said: "Since the financial crisis began, Nationwide has worked closely with the regulatory authorities in the UK to secure a positive solution for all customers who may be adversely affected and it will continue to do so."

Provisional liquidator Mike Simpson, of PwC Isle of Man, said the timing and value of future payouts was uncertain but a second distribution of cash was likely in December.