CFS and Britannia to create ‘super mutual’

Co-operative Financial Services and the Britannia Building Society plan to merge later this year to create a £70 billion ‘super mutual’ wholly owned by the Co-operative Group.

The proposed deal – which has already been recommended by the boards of both organisations – requires the approval of Britannia members at a general meeting expected to be held on April 29th.

Negotiations to pave the way for the merger, described by a CFS spokesman as “transformational and a fantastic opportunity for the Group”, have been under way for several months after a Bill to facilitate the change was introduced at Westminster by Conservative MP Sir John Butterfill.

Now that his Building Societies (Funding) and Mutual Societies (Transfers) Act is about to become law next month, the new business -with assets of £70 billion, nine million members, 12,000 employees, over 300 branches and 20 corporate banking centres – will become a reality this summer, subject to the approval of the Britannia members.

The building society’s current group chief executive, Neville Richardson, is to lead the new combined organisation as current CFS Chief Executive David Anderson, the main driving force behind the merger deal, has announced his intention to stand down – probably before the end of the year.

Mr Anderson, who has been chief officer at CFS since 2005 after taking over from Mervyn Pedelty, told the News: “These are very exciting times for CFS and I am proud to have played a part in developing the legislation that has made this transaction possible.

“But the new business can only have one Chief Executive and  Neville Richardson will have my full support. I’m sure he will do an excellent job. It’s a great opportunity for the Group and the Movement, but as well as the approval of the Britannia members, there is a confirmatory process to go through and the deal has to be ratified by the Financial Services Authority, so it’s unlikely to be tied up completely before June or July.”


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