22 MARCH 1940, Page 35


The year 1939 was shaping reasonably well for the build- ing societies until the outbreak of war cut off new business abruptly and stimulated a sudden demand for repayment of shares and deposits by investors, most of whom had excellent reasons for calling in part of their ready money. Of all the building societies, the Halifax, with total assets of £129,137,993, is by far the largest, and shows these tendencies clearly. Its accounts for the year ended January 31st, 1940, also show how well the society was to with- stand the sudden strain to which it was subjected. Among the unfortunate effects of the outbreak of war must be reckoned the fact that new mortgage business for the year declined from £20,240,996 to £12,612,344. Considering that the year contained seven months of normal trading this figure suggests that very little new business was done since the outbreak of war. Equally, the liquid funds had not at the end of January quite recovered from the with- drawals which occurred around the beginning of Septem- ber, though the decline is very small. Thus, liquid funds amounted to £21,936,392 compared with £22,368,340. On the other hand, the strength of the society is shown by the fact that even in the exceptionally unfortunate year just ended total assets continued to increase. They actually rose by £895,137 during the year. The mortgage assets also increased from £105,177,549 to £106,519,832 and this asset is well spread throughout Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the average amount outstanding is as low as £415 per account. The total of reserve funds is also higher at £5,725,000 compared with £5,400,000