West Bromwich unaware of FSA merger talks

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's West Bromwich Building Society said on Sunday it had no knowledge of the financial regulator seeking a buyer for the society, adding that it was well capitalised and able to meet its obligations.

The 8th-largest building society was responding to a report in the Sunday Times that the Financial Services Authority was seeking a white knight bidder for the building society in the latest bailout for the mutual sector.

West Bromwich said it was working with the FSA in respect of its funding and capital position, including a stress-testing exercise being conducted on a number of larger building societies.

"The Society has not received any indications from the FSA in relation to the results of this exercise, which commenced only recently," West Bromwich said in a statement.

"Furthermore, the West Brom has no knowledge of the FSA holding merger discussions relating to the Society." According to the Sunday Times, West Bromwich's full-year results are due to show sizeable losses from bad debts on commercial property.

"The board of West Bromwich Building Society believes that the Society is well capitalised, able to meet all its obligations in full and has a long-term future as an independent mutual society," said the building society.

The FSA, which in March negotiated a rescue takeover for the Dunfermline building society, declined to comment.

(Reporting by Victoria Bryan, editing by Will Waterman)

Article Published: 17/05/2009