A $60 Billion Bonanza For Britons

"It's like winning the lottery" as building societies go public

Vivian Ayton is delighted. The 34-year-old east Londoner is fitting out her home with a new bathroom, complete with Jacuzzi. Funding the project was painless--thanks to the two mutually owned mortgage lenders where Ayton financed her house and parked her savings. In little more than a month, the two so-called building societies--Halifax and Woolwich--went public. As a member of both, Ayton got shares worth more than $7,000 in the newly listed companies. "It's like winning the lottery," she says.

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