Mortgage lender Nationwide today said it was in advanced merger talks with the Derbyshire and Cheshire building societies.
The Derbyshire has 50 branches and 500,000 members, while the Macclesfield-based Cheshire has 45 building society branches and 13 estate agency branches.
The proposed tie-ups come a year after the Nationwide completed a merger with the Portman, a deal which triggered windfall payments of between £200 (€248) and £1,000 (€1,239) for members of the UK’s third biggest building society.
Nationwide’s merger with the Portman left it with more than 900 branches and 14 million members.
The Swindon-based firm – the UK’s largest society – has been one of beneficiaries of the downturn in the financing and mortgage markets because savers have deserted banks and smaller building societies in a so-called “flight to safety”.
It said today: “The board of Nationwide Building Society can confirm that it is in advanced discussions with The Derbyshire and The Cheshire Building Societies over the terms of independent and proposed mergers.
“Further announcements will be made once those discussions have concluded.”