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Chelsea and Yorkshire Building Societies in talks

Merger looks likely as discussions confirmed

Two of Britain’s largest Building societies today announced that they were in advanced merger talks. Chelsea and Yorkshire are the fourth and second largest building societies in Britain. Between them they have 178 branches, 2.7m members and £35bn worth of assets.

Chelsea seeks support

The merger has yet to be formally announced and will need FSA approval before going ahead. It seems to provide a solution to the problems Chelsea has faced since falling victim to mortgage fraud and losing £41m on buy-to-let and self-certification loans. In the first six months of 2009 the society recorded £26m losses, compared with pre-tax profits of £23m in 2008. The society is a Which? Best Buy for its 90-day notice saving account.

Mutual Mergers  

Neither society is a stranger to merger and consolidation, with Chelsea taking over the Catholic Building Society in 2008 and Yorkshire acquiring Barnsley Building Society in the same year.  

For savers and borrowers a merger would make little difference, at least in the short run, although customers will need to check that each firm retains its individual FSA authorisation to be sure of FSCS cover for up to £50,000 invested in each. 

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