Today, Skipton Building Society (89 branches, 830,000 members, the UK's fourth largest) takes over Chesham Building Society (3 branches, 20,000 members, one of the smallest — and, established in 1845, the UK's oldest).
Background to the Skipton takeover of Chesham Building Society
Despite the ongoing furore about Skipton's "exceptional circumstances" SVR increase for existing mortgage borrowers, it seems to be trading nicely: yesterday it announced pre-tax profits had recovered from £22.5 million to £63.5 million.
Not such a rosy picture for The Chesham. After 165 years, world wars and depressions, the UK's oldest building society, after operating at a loss last year, finally raised the white flag at 2010's economic and interest rate conditions.
Where's Chesham, by the way?
The society is based in Buckinghamshire, in the three commuter towns of Chesham, Aylesbury and Little Chalfont, with an agency in Tring, Hertfordshire. Skipton has promised to keep all four open for at least 12 months.
No perks, but some drops in mortgage rates
Chesham members don't receive much in the way of perks from the takeover. They get to use Skipton's branch network and that's about it. However, some Chesham mortgage borrowers will see their rates drop by 1.5%.
Skipton borrowers frustrated?
If we had a Skipton building society standard variable rate mortgage and found out our rate had just increased 1.5% because of "exceptional circumstances", we'd be infuriated to find out the society is at the same time increasing profits, splashing out on a takeover and giving certain Chesham borrowers a 1.5% mortgage rate reduction. Wouldn't you?