Building society members facing year's wait for Iceland windfall

MEMBERS of a building society which lost £10m during the Icelandic banking crisis are still in line for a windfall payment – but will have to wait for another year to learn if they will get the money.

The Barnsley Building Society invested large sums in two of Iceland's banks, the Kaupthing, Singer and Friedlander bank and Landsbanki subsidiary Heritable Bank, which both failed during the recession.

As a result of its losses the Barnsley was forced to merge with its bigger rival the Bradford-based Yorkshire Building Society, which has since been working to recover the lost money from Iceland.

A spokesman for the YBS said: "We have been pursuing the Icelandic banks for repayment and we have received around half, which is around 5m. We are expecting to get more from the two banks, although it is still very unclear whether this will be the full 10m or rather less than that.

"When we have received as much as is thought possible we will consider making an ex-gratia payment to Barnsley Building Society members although there is not a specific timescale on that.

"We could make a payment now, but if we did that, it is unlikely that another would be made if more cash came back, so we are waiting to ensure members get as much as possible."

The YBS completed a second merger in April last year when it acquired the Chelsea Building Society, which had also found itself exposed to problems with the Icelandic banks. Following the move, the combined society, the country's second largest mutual, has more than 35bn of assets, 2.7 million members and a network of 178 branches.

It is understood that the earliest a payment could be made to Barnsley's 32,000 members would be at around this time next year.