Cascade Commentary

Holmesdale and Skipton seek approval to merge with proposal sent to members following February announcement

The Holmesdale Building Society (Holmesdale) announced in February 2018 that it had agreed terms to merge with the much larger Skipton Building Society (Skipton), explaining that the combination would result in a greater choice and value for members with an opportunity for the society to benefit from proposed economies of scale. Holmesdale stressed at the time that the move was not being driven by any financial difficulty, referring to an operating profit of £1.5m for the 2016-17 financial year.

Full details for the merger were distributed to the 7,300 members who held the right to vote in June 2018. In the documentation, the Holmesdale board outlined the many benefits for members, including access to “a large, national branch network”, “a wider range of saving and mortgage products” and membership to the much larger, combined Building Society giving access to greater operational resources.

Holmesdale was founded in 1855 with one branch in Reigate, Surrey. Holmesdale is one of the UK’s smallest Building Societies, servicing its members with only 26 staff. While enjoying positive operating profits, the Society continues to be stretched amidst significant regulatory and technological changes in the industry following the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis. In comparison, Skipton is the UK’s fourth largest Building Society, operating from 87 branches nationally with total assets of £21bn as at 31 December 2017.

Savers who hold accounts with both Holmesdale and Skipton, and who exceed the FSCS limit as a result of the merger, will be able to reduce their combined balance to the prevailing £85,000 or £170,000 limit without notice or any additional charge, penalty or loss of interest on the amount withdrawn. This will only apply for a three (3) month period following the merger taking effect (presently expected to be effective from 1 October 2018). 

Skipton will endeavour to write to all those savers affected with details of its proposal at that time along with instructions regarding the action they need to take. Savers who have accounts with both Holmesdale and Skipton and who will exceed the FSCS limit as a result of the merger can contact Holmesdale to discuss their position by writing to the Savings Team, Holmesdale Building Society, 43 Church Street, Reigate, Surrey RH2 0AE or by telephone on 01737 232320. We will be in contact with those affected within the Cascade service to support on this with your new options moving forward. 

Should you have any remaining queries, please do let us know and we’ll be delighted to assist you further.

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