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 School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
- 2 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 3 Amber Peat: Body found in search for missing 13-year-old who left house after argument with her parents
- 5 Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop
California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
Amber Peat: Body found in search for missing 13-year-old who left house after argument with her parents
Alton Towers crash: Four guests seriously injured as Smiler ride carriages collide
Charles Kennedy dead: A guy once asked the Lib Dem leader who his favourite Muppet was and his letter response was wonderful
Gay teenager 'forced to have sex with his own mother' to 'cure' his homosexuality, campaigners in India say
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...
£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...
£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...
£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...