Mutualsm campaign

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The merits of mutuality to borrowers and savers are to be promoted in a £5m television campaign by Britannia building society.

As part of a brand awareness campaign starting tomorrow night, the building society – Britain's second largest – wants to highlight the benefits of mutuality over a bank publicly listed on the stock market.

These benefits are generally held to be annual payouts to members rather than shareholders and profits put back into lower prices for financial products as opposed to having to pay dividends and profits to shareholders and the City. "Research tells us that customers value integrity, transparency and a fair deal from their financial services provider," said chief executive Neville Richardson.

However, mutuality is no longer the force it once was, as former building societies including Halifax, Alliance & Leicester and Northern Rock all succumbed to the lure of a flotation – and carpetbagging after a shares windfall – in the 1980s and 1990s.

The merger this year of Nationwide and Portman building societies prompted speculation that the UK's biggest building society would abandon mutuality but it has so far remained loyal.

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