The UK’s second-largest mutual has
opened for business following the merger between Britannia Building
Society and Co-operative Financial Services. The new business has
£70 billion ($119 billion) of assets, nine million customers and
more than 300 branches.

In April, Britannia members voted nine-to-one
in favour of creating this new member-led financial services
business, which is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of The
Co-operative Group (see RBI 612). The group is the world’s
largest consumer co-operative, with an annual turnover of over £14
billion and over 4,500 UK outlets which span its core business
interests in the food, financial services, pharmacy and travel

The deal comes at a time when the UK building
society sector is under enormous pressure. The Building Societies
Association has reported that in June, building societies suffered
the biggest monthly outflow of savings for 54 years – with £2.3
billion withdrawn from the sector. The British Bankers’ Association
noted a sharp rise in savings at commercial banks in

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