Co-operative Bank rolls out branch network


The Co-operative Bank has completed the integration of Britannia Building Society today as 245 Britannia branches start to offer Co-op banking services.

The Co-op took over Britannia in 2009, but until now Britannia’s branches could only be used by Britannia customers.

Now Co-op customers can carry out everyday banking services in the branches which have been re-branded with signs showing they are part of the new Co-operative Bank.

The Co-op now has 342 branches, and it has plans for further expansion.

The new bank in town

The move means it could be the first building society to approach the size and market domination of Nationwide and could provide competition against the 'Big Five' high street banks.

The bank is a member-owned mutual organisation, so customers get shares in the profits and a say in how the business is run. It also doesn’t engage in investment banking, which should reassure customers following the financial crisis.

Possibly as a result of this the bank has seen a 73% increase in the number of new current accounts opened in the first half of this year.

"This shows that there is an appetite from consumers to switch banks and we are hoping that this move will genuinely help bring some much needed competition to the current account market," says Rod Bulmer, managing director of retail for The Co-operative Bank.

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Despite this supposed integration, I tried to pay some cheques and cash to my Smile (the online arm of Co-op bank) account at my local Britannia branch today and I was told that they were unable to accept cheques for Smile accounts, and that only Co-op bank branches can accept them. So not exactly integrated given that they've had 2 years to work on this. Also not exactly convenient given that I don't have a local Co-op branch.

Also had the same problem yesterday, I even emailed Smile first to ask if I can pay in a cheque at my local Britannia branch and advised them of comments like the OP's thus I was double checking. I was told that smile accounts can be paid in to from these branches and yet, of course, when I tried I was told by staff that they cannot.

Just to update this, I was told by customer services that you certainly CAN pay in to smile accounts at Britiannia branches. I was told that it will be raised with management and steps taken to ensure that all staff are correctly advised. Just popped back into the branch today (Alderley Edge) and was told that nothing has changed, still can't pay in. I urged them to try anyway and got them to take £5 out and pay it back in again, sure enough it worked. So that branch now knows it works so if you come across the same problem and the branch refuses to accept that it does work - tell them to speak to Alderley Edge branch! :) Happy with the Co-operative bank again!