Britannia joins EBS in Irish venture

Britannia Building Society is in advance negotiations with Irish mutual EBS to set up a mortgage lending joint venture focusing on the Irish intermediary market.

The JV will involve combining Platform, the intermediary lender arm of Britannia, with EBS’s sales network and established distribution presence in Ireland.

Both societies see brokers taking a bigger share of the residential mortgage market in Ireland, as they have in the UK, and see significant opportunities for growth in the broker market.

EBS Building Society is one of Ireland’s leading mutual building societies. It has over 400,000 members and 102 offices throughout the country, employing over 700 staff.

Discussions have already opened with the Irish Financial Regulator and, subject to regulatory approval, the JV is expected to be in operation in the second half of this year.

Britannia Group chief executive Neville Richardson says the proposed JV will be the first time Britannia has operated in residential mortgage markets outside the UK.

He says: “This has the potential to be a very successful and profitable venture for both parties.

“EBS shares similar values to Britannia and is very strong in the Irish market. The venture will allow us to exploit Platform’s renowned expertise in serving the intermediary sector in a completely new market.”

EBS chief executive Ted McGovern says: “In Britannia, we see both complementary capabilities and, being a committed mutual like ourselves, a very compatible business philosophy, ethos and values.

“We believe this channel will account for an even bigger proportion of the overall residential mortgage market in Ireland.”