Skipton and Chesham building societies to merge

Skipton Building Society

Skipton Building Society has announced plans to merge with Chesham to create an enlarged society with over £15 billion of assets and a 92-strong branch network.

Details of the merger, which is expected to complete on 1 June 2010, will be communicated to members of both societies within the next month. Chesham’s members will be given the opportunity to vote on the merger plans, which are also subject to approval from the Financial Services Authority.

Details of the merger come as Skipton announces pre-tax profits of £63.5 million - up £41 million from last year’s £22.5 million.

Its retail balances increased by £2.3 billion, or 29%, to £10.5 billion with 145,000 new savers joining its ranks during the year. Last year Skipton took Scarborough Building Society under its wing, and bought £723 million of retail savings (and 45,000 new members) from Capital One through its Castle Money brand.

It also sold its credit report subsidiary, Callcredit Information Group, in December – a move that boosted profits by approximately £40 million.

Skipton says it has no plans to close any of Chesham's three branches for 12 months from the date of merger, although after this time they will be subject to the society's ongoing branch review process.

There will also be no compulsory redundancies among branch staff as a result of the merger. For Chesham members, the merger means they will be able to access their accounts in any branch of the enlarged society from merger date.

Paul Kilbride, chief executive of Chesham Building Society, says: “A merger with Skipton will result in Chesham's members having access to Skipton's large branch network, its postal and telephone investment service, internet facilities, and to a broader range of products and services, from the time when the merger becomes effective."

He adds that joining forces with the larger society will also protect members from the onslaught of the credit crunch: “Being part of a larger building society with broader funding sources and a larger capital base, while preserving the current levels of customer service and offering an extended range of good-value products, are in the best interests of members.”