Skipton & Chesham building societies to merge.

This week, Skipton Building Society announced plans to merge with the Chesham. The Skipton, who only completed their merger with Scarborough Building Society 11 months ago, hope the deal will be completed by June.

While Chesham only add 3 branches to the new group of 92, the deal is subject to their members’ approval, and of course, the FSA.

Paul Kilbride, chief executive of Chesham said: "The Chesham board firmly believes that the clear benefits of 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 its members.

Skipton hit the headlines for not so good reasons recently when they increased their SVR by a huge 1.45% to 4.95%, in response to “exceptional market conditions “. Despite this jump, they still look positively cheap when compared to Chesham svr of 6.45%. It is not clear whether Chesham borrowers will get to adopt the lower rate once the merger is complete.

A contributing “exceptional condition” was the combination of offering their low svr to borrowers, while trying to fight off stiff competition for their savers by offering them, “consistently high returns relative to an extraordinarily low base rate”.

Skipton also revealed increased group profits of £63m last year, up £41m and a huge jump in retail balances (savings), which increased by £2.3bn.

No compulsory redundancies are expected as a result of the merger.

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