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Nationwide Building Society in merger talks

News that the Nationwide Building Society is in talks with the Derbyshire and Cheshire Building Societies has received a mixed reaction from the markets. It seems the move was prompted by renewed concern that some of the smaller building societies are struggling to cope with the current financial meltdown. The move has been made with the apparent full blessing of the regulators.

While the Nationwide Building Society is already the UK's largest mutual financial company, with over 14 million members, the move to acquire the two small operations should add around 1 million extra customers to the merged entity. However, those looking to make a quick buck in terms of a windfall payment will be greatly disappointed to learn that it looks as though no payment will be changing hands.

Some in the market are already comparing this relatively seamless operation with the Northern Rock debacle which saw the government and the regulator discuss the options for weeks before deciding upon nationalisation for the bank. However, maybe lessons have been learnt after the Northern Rock affair - something which is always good to see in the financial industry!

We will keep you up to date with developments which should happen fairly swiftly over the next few days.

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