Posted on Thursday 7 November 2013 by Ulster Business

Darina Armstrong

The boards of Progressive Building Society and the City of Derry Building Society have agreed to merge the societies, subject to approval by their members and the financial regulator.

The merger is expected to come into force in July next year, if approved by the members of the City of Derry and confirmation by the Prudential Regulation Authority.

In a statement the Board of the City of Derry said that to uphold its current high standard of service it required greater levels of investment in back office systems and producs, as well as training and development for staff.

“The necessary resources for this investment can only readily come from the economies of scale, organisational depth and financial strength associated with size. This proposed merger will enable the members of the City of Derry to join a strong, thriving regional building society, with similar objectives and values,” the society said.

Progressive was established in 1914 and is currently the 10th largest society in the UK, with assets in excess of £1.6bn and around 100,000 members. It has 12 branches and a network of over 40 agencies throughout Northern Ireland.

City of Derry Building Society, which was established in 1876, has its head office and sole branch office in Londonderry. At the end of 2012 City of Derry had assets of £42.6m and has around 2,500 members.

The enlarged society will retain the name Progressive Building Society and will remain an independent, Northern Ireland, mutual organisation, owned by its members.

Following the merger, members of City of Derry will have access to the full range of products and services offered by Progressive and will be able to use the full branch and agency network of the Progressive with offices throughout Northern Ireland.

The societies also noted that no bonuses will be payable to members of either society arising from the merger and there will be no compulsory redundancies, with a branch office to be retained in Londonderry for at least three years.

Darina Armstrong, Chief Executive of Progressive Building Society (pictured), said: "We are looking forward to finalising the terms of the merger and to welcoming the members of City of Derry Building Society as members of the enlarged society in due course. The members of both societies will benefit from the financial strength of the combined society and the Progressive will continue to operate as it always has - a traditional building society, offering good value savings and mortgage products and excellent customer service for the benefit of our members."

David Black, Chairman of City of Derry said, “We have selected Progressive as our partner as it is the optimum choice. Progressive is the UK’s 10th largest Society and has the financial strength associated with a large mutual building society to provide assurance to our members. The merger will ensure that members of City of Derry are able to continue to benefit from membership of a Northern Ireland based mutual building society as well as being able to access a broad range of mortgage and savings products. The Directors of City of Derry Building Society strongly encourage the Society's members to vote in favour of the merger." 

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