Savers with the Presbyterian Mutual Society will be watching for the arrival of their post with special interest today since it will contain a cheque from the Administrator returning money to them. After waiting for 2 years and 10 months, those with under £20,000 will get all of their money back, and those with larger savings will receive at least 77% of their savings. It’s a day for thanksgiving and rejoicing.
Special thanks to everyone who has made this return of money possible. I know that there has been a considerable expenditure of energy in recent days on the part of the Administrator, Arthur Boyd, and his team, as well as the officials at DETI, who have had the responsibility for tying up all the loose ends of the deal. But they have made it happen, and we are so grateful.
There are two aspects of the arrangement that are of interest to those who have not received all of their money back. One is the rate of interest that the PMS will have to pay on the £175 million loan from the Government. There are some indications that this could be at a lower rate than that on which many of the calculations were based. Simple arithmetic shows that a 1% reduction in the interest rate would mean that PMS would have to re-pay £1.75m less in the first year of borrowing. Overall that would create more favourable conditions for the PMS, and for those who are eager to get access to the remainder of their funds.
The other area of interest is the actual percentage required from those who opted to make an additional deferment. Individuals and congregations were given the option of leaving an additional 5% or 10% of their funds in the PMS so that smaller savers could get all of their money back. I hear that the response to that appeal has been so good that the actual amounts may be less than half of that which larger savers were prepared to defer. That is a tremendous response and shows that there is a reservoir of generosity and compassion within PCI in spite of the PMS debacle.
It would be good if, on this day of thanksgiving, those who are in receipt of PMS cheques remembered the really needy people in our world and considered sending a thank offering to Tearfund or Christian Aid.