Britannia and The Co-operative Financial Services have agreed to merge, forming a building society with assets worth £70 billion. The boards of both providers believe the merger will offer consumers ‘an ethical alternative to shareholder-owned banks’.
Nine million customers would be served through more than 300 branches. Britannia and the Co-op admit that some branches may close, but only where two are located in the same vicinity. Both parties have promised no staff redundancies.
The deal is still to be approved by members and will not be finalised until the summer. It was made possible as a result of the Building societies (Funding) and Mutual Societies (Transfers) Act. The first merger would be the first to happen under what is also known as the ‘Butterfly Bill’ after its sponsor Sir John Butterfly MP.
Britannia chairman Rodney Baker-Bates said in a joint statement: ‘The combined and complementary strengths of our businesses will offer customers a strong, fair and ethical alternative to banking PLCs. Customers will be owners and will have available all the services they would expect from a major financial provider, together with a real say in setting strategy combined with a share of the profits.’
The Co-operative Financial Services chairman Bob Burlton commented: ‘Both businesses have been pursuing successful strategies independently and are strong in their own right, but we recognise we could be even more successful by coming together to create the UK’s most trusted financial services business.’
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