As I write this one of the main news items of the day is the proposed restructuring of the Co-operative Bank with the Co-operative Group losing its outright ownership of the bank, retaining only 30% of the share capital. Reassurances are being given that the bank will retain the ethical values which make it attractive to many of its customers.
One consequence of the Co-op Bank rescue is that around fifty branches will be closed. I wonder if the bulk of these will be the smaller branches which the Co-op Bank acquired during the merger with the Britannia Building Society? Those branches still trade under the Britannia banner. Down here in the South West many Britannia’s were previously Bristol & West Building Society branches, including those in Bridport and Crewkerne.
Will people faced with the closure of their local branch or worried about the future of the banks ethical stance will consider moving their accounts to another provider?
The Co-operative Building Society
Those looking for another mutually owned financial institution may well consider the Nationwide Building Society which offers a range of current and savings accounts. I wonder how many of these will realise that The Nationwide also has its roots in the same co-operative movement as the Co-op food shops, Co-op Pharmacy, Co-op Bank and The Co-operative Funeralcare.
The Co-operative Permanent Building Society started back in 1884 to enable co-operative society members to own their own house. Like many Building Societies over the coming years they grew and grew by merging with other smaller societies.
In 1970 the members of the Co-op Building Society voted to change the name to the Nationwide Building Society which through further mergers has gone on to become the worlds largest building society.
I came across the old poster for the Co-operative Building Society below on the Northampton, Market Harborough, Stamford, Olney and Leamington Spa Vintage Fairs web site.