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Britannia in talks with Co-op Financial Services

In a move which has surprised most in the market it has been revealed that Britannia Building Society and Co-op Financial Services are in talks about merging their operations. While a formal merger could not actually go through until new laws giving more choice to building societies are passed, with regards to finance, they are in talks.

The move would bring together not only the headline operations but also the Co-operative Bank, Smile and Co-operative Insurance to create something of a super group which would have 6 million (mutual) members and over £70 billion of assets.

It is hard to tell whether one or the other is feeling the pinch in the current climate but a merger of this kind would really shake up the financial services sector as they both have a reputation for delivering the goods. Quite where this would leave the building society movement is a little uncertain as it would affectively take one of the major players 'over to the other side'.

While something of a surprise this will not be the last large merger to come about because of the credit crunch with more and more groups reportedly in talks behind the scenes in an effort to survive what is the worst run on the UK banking sector in nearly a century.

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