Britannia and EBS to launch Irish mortgage JV

Britannia is in advanced talks with Irish mutual EBS to set up a new full service joint venture focussing on the Irish mortgage intermediary market.

The plans entail combining the award-winning expertise of Platform, the intermediary lender of Britannia, with EBS’s strong reputation and sales network 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.

Britannia Group chief executive Neville Richardson says the proposed JV was an exciting prospect for Britannia, as it would be the first time the Group had 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, adding significant value for Britannia’s members in the UK and EBS’s members in Ireland. 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 Britannia’s success in the UK intermediary market made it the perfect partner for EBS.

He adds: “In Britannia we see both complementary capabilities and, being a committed mutual like ourselves, a very compatible business philosophy, ethos and values.

“EBS has just completed a successful first full year in the broker market. We believe that, going forward, this channel will account for an even bigger proportion of the overall residential mortgage market in Ireland.

“In order to fully avail of these opportunities I am delighted to confirm that EBS and Britannia Building Society are in advanced discussions to create a joint venture which will serve this market.”

The joint venture will leverage EBS’ local market knowledge, established distribution presence and reputation as well as Britannia’s experience of intermediary channels.

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