A letter today from Mr Arthur Boyd, the Administrator of the Presbyterian Mutual Society, reports that over 99% of the PMS members and creditors voted in favour of the rescue package which was proposed to them. This package means that no saver with the PMS will have less than 77% of their savings returned to them immediately, and many will receive substantially more than that. The rescue package also allows for the possibility that, given favourable economic conditions in the next number of years, all savers will get 100% of their money back.
I have to say that this is a great outcome for everyone who has been involved in seeking a resolution to this crisis since it first began in October 2008. I pay tribute to my colleague, Rev Dr Donald Patton, who got the campaign going, to the Lobby Group under the leadership of Ian McGimpsey and Isobel White, to those who advised and supported me, and to our representatives in both Houses at Westminster who lobbied and campaigned for us. Particular thanks are due to members of the Northern Ireland Executive and especially to the former DETI Minister, Arlene Foster, and her officials for putting the details of the package together. And of course, Arthur Boyd, has played a leading role in getting us to this outcome. A big thank you to everyone who has worked so hard and so effectively.
What makes this a “bonus point win” is the fact that Mr Boyd reports that 33% of the PMS savers have voted to make an additional voluntary deferment, thereby raising the Church’s contribution to over £2 million and thus ensuring that all smaller savers with less than £20,000 in the Society will get all their money back. That gives me particular pleasure since the needs of the smaller savers have been our primary motivation in seeking a solution to this crisis.
Above all, we give thanks to Almighty God for answered prayer.