Last week I attended a series of information and clarification meetings held by the Administrator in Carnmoney, Newry, Ballymena and Bangor. There are four further meetings to be held after Easter in Armagh, Londonderry, Lisburn and Fisherwick.
The Administrator, Mr Arthur Boyd, has used the opportunity to describe the details of the Scheme of Arrangement and to answer questions which savers have posed. Some of the answers to these questions have been posted here. I believe that most savers have gone away from these meetings feeling reassured and confident of a good outcome.
Overall, the Scheme is well-received by the members because it promises a better and quicker outcome than the alternative of the Society going into liquidation. If liquidated, the smaller savers would receive nothing and the larger creditors would end up with at least 15% less than they are being offered.
It is crucial that all members respond to the offer before May 6th, and as someone said at one of the meetings last week, “not to put the papers behind the clock and forget about them”. So if you are a member and you haven’t voted yet, please consider getting your vote sent off before the end of this week.
At these meetings I have been able to make the point that the additional voluntary deferral option should be seriously considered by congregations who do not need immediate access to all their money. This would really be them taking a small step back in the queue and allowing smaller savers to get access to all their money immediately. I believe that this would not only benefit the smaller savers, but would counteract the negative perceptions of the church during this crisis. If enough congregations would opt for this additional deferral, the actual amount deferred could be very small (perhaps 5% or less) but would greatly benefit a large number of needy people. I encourage treasurers and members of congregational committees to think seriously about this option.