THE UK’s second largest building society has called for Northern Rock to rejoin the mutual fold.
Yorkshire Building Society, which has its roots in Huddersfield, said that building societies and other mutual organisations were making a crucial contribution to competition and diversity in the retail financial services market.
Speaking during the Building Societies annual conference, chief executive Iain Cornish said the coalition Government had stated its intention to “foster diversity in financial services, promote mutuals and create a more competitive banking industry”.
Returning Northern Rock to the mutual sector would support the Government’s intention, further strengthen the sector and help create a more competitive banking system.
He said: “Re-mutualisation of Northern Rock provides a real opportunity to create a more vibrant and sustainable financial sector.
“We recognise there are obstacles that need to be overcome, but believe that returning Northern Rock to mutuality would deliver long term benefits for consumers and the financial services sector as a whole.”
Yorkshire has become a force in the sector through its mergers with Chelsea and Barnsley building societies in 2008 and 2010 respectively and its plans to merge with the UK’s ninth largest society, Norwich & Peterborough.
Northern Rock was nationalised in 2008, after it collapsed amid during the credit crisis – sparking the first run on a British bank for 150 years.