Goodbye the Leeds
Sunday 30 July 1995
The changes are more than symbolic, and illustrate the "merger fever" in the embattled mutual building society industry. National & Provincial is also in the process of being sucked into Abbey National.
C&G, which claims to be the lowest-cost provider of mortgages among societies, will become a "mortgage factory" for Lloyds. The 147-year-old Leeds will disappear into the maw of the Halifax, as a prelude to converting into one of the UK's biggest banks.
The most apparent changes will be at the Leeds. All its 400-plus branches closed yesterday lunchtime and will stay shut tomorrow while the "Leeds" signs are replaced by Halifax livery. They will reopen on Tuesday with their famous "liquid gold" accounts, as advertised by the ubiquitous George Cole of Arthur Daley fame, rebranded as "Halifax liquid gold".
Leeds' mortgages will stay much the same, but its insurance and unit trust products will switch to Halifax.
Lloyds, meanwhile, is licking its lips at the prospects for selling C&G mortgages through its 1,800 branches, following its pounds 1.8bn acquisition of the society. Sir Brian Pitman, Lloyds' chief executive, said on Friday: "C&G . . . will be the lowest-cost producer among all the national building societies. C&G will offer mortgages at 25 basis points [0.25 per cent] lower than some other named competitors. We already have some pilot ventures between Lloyds and C&G."
He compares C&G's costs, at 30 per cent of income, with Lloyds' own 60 per cent, the average for the high-street banks.
The remaining societies acted last week to avoid being picked off by a bank. They increased the minimum amount required in their savings accounts, to stop the current sport of depositing pounds 100 in each society in the hope of a "winner" - an acquisition payout by a bank predator.
Societies have been besieged by punters hoping to cash in on merger mania. Two societies have already reacted by hiking their minimum savings levels in order to stop this "hot money" sweeping around the system. Others say they are preparing to follow.
Woolwich has increased its minimum balance from pounds 100 to pounds 500. Chelsea has acted similarily, raising its minimum investment for the Instant Options account from pounds 100 to pounds 1,000. Both are potential bid targets.
Alliance & Leicester and Nationwide said they may follow suit. The Yorkshire has seen 300-400 new accounts being opened every week at its 134 branches, far more than normal.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
iJobs Money & Business
$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer Office...
$125 - $225 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advi...
Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...
Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...