The merger of the Staffordshire and Portman Building Societies will result in pre tax bonuses of up to £2,500 for Staffordshire members, who will be issued a merger booklet detailing the bonuses prior to a vote on 22 September. The minimum will be £100 for saving members and £200 for borrowing members.
Robert Sharpe, chief executive of the Portman Building Society, explained: ‘Staffordshire needs its members’ approval and we considered that the Society could release approximately half its reserves back to its members. This equates to something like 4.65% of the share balance or £200 if they are mortgage customers. It is up to the members of the Staffordshire to decide if that is in their best interests.’
Sharpe denied media reports that Portman was on the lookout for similar deals. He said: ‘What I said was that, while all building societies are well run and can probably continue indefinitely, there is a degree of regulation on the horizon, both from home and abroad, and there may be other societies out there, like Staffordshire, who believe it is in the best interests of their members that they join a larger group. We are not making any approaches to anyone, but if someone wishes to talk to us then they are welcome.’
The deal will see the merged society rest in fourth place in terms of UK building societies and their assets, a place currently held by the Portman anyway. ‘We will be a lot closer to third than fifth though,’ said Sharpe.