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Is the building society sector as safe as you think?

The ongoing problems at the Dunfermline building society together with a number of smaller societies which were taken "in house" by larger institutions have added to an intriguing debate about the safety and the future of the building society sector. A number of experts are suggesting that banking operations such as supermarkets, ethical banks, Islamic banks and National Savings and Investments could well benefit from any perceived change in risk.

While on the surface it may look as though the building society sector is struggling in the wake of the ongoing recession, in reality, the problems with the Dunfermline appear to be specific to that particular building society. Those trying to suggest a more widespread issue across the sector are likely to be wide of the mark because if this had been the case then the likes of the Nationwide would have stepped in with a rescue package for the whole Dunfermline building society.

The mutual basis of the sector has seen a number of "in-house" rescue packages over the years with little or no involvement from the UK government. However, as with any banking operation at this moment in time it is vital that you are aware of your rights, compensation and any significant change in risk factors.

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