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Britannia dismisses Nationwide takeover rumours

Britannia is dismissing industry rumours that Nationwide is looking at taking over the rival mutual.

Sources tell Mortgage Strategy a deal was being discussed between the UK’s biggest building society, Nationwide, and number two, Britannia, which owns intermediary lender, Platform.

Britannia spokesman David Ginivan says: “There is no substance in the rumour about us and Nationwide.I can confirm there is no truth in it.”

Part of the reason sources say Britannia may have been open to a take-over was the effect of a requirement which was expected to be brought in under the International Accountancy Standards on January 1.

This would have limited the amount of securitised assets mutuals could have on their balance sheets. It was feared Platform’s securitised assets may have put Britannia over its limit.

But this week a statutory instrument is due to go before parliament which will remove this issue as a result of lobbying from the mutual sector.

The Building Societies Association says the Treasury recognised IAS would have had an impact on mutuals’ ‘nature limits’, but legislation changes will maintain the current treatment of securitisation. This is despite the IAS rules still being introduced in January.

Ginivan adds: “The potential issue with IAS for mutuals is now being resolved – that is what we lobbied for.”

Nationwide says it never comments on market speculation.

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