Britannia confirms talks with Co-operative
In light of forthcoming legislative changes that will make it easier for different types of mutuals building societies, co-operatives and friendly societies to work together, Britannia Building Society has confirmed it is in exploratory talks with Co-operative Financial Services (CFS).
Britannia said the talks were at a very early stage and would cover a wide range of options as to how the two organisations could work together, including a possible future merger.
This would be enabled through the introduction of measures contained in the Building Societies (Funding) & Mutual Societies (Transfers) Act known as the Butterfill bill, after its sponsor Sir John Butterfill MP. The legislation should be in place by the end of this year. A merger would also have to be approved in a vote by Britannia's members.
The organisations two of the UKs leading member-owned businesses have similar values and share a mutual ethos, so there would be a strong cultural fit and it would represent a merger of strong equals.
Britannia the country's second biggest building society has an extensive branch network and a strong savings and mortgage franchise. CFS part of the Co-operative Group, the worlds largest consumer co-op has a strong personal and business banking franchise and life and general insurance expertise.
The combined and complementary strengths of the two businesses could offer customers a real ethical, customer-owned alternative to the plc market, with the combined organisations having around £70 billion of assets and six million customers.
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