The Boards of the Holmesdale Building Society and Skipton Building Society have recently announced their agreement in principle to merge the two societies. This page is to provide members with early information about the proposed merger and answer some frequently asked questions you may have. Full details of the proposed merger and what it will mean for Holmesdale’s members, together with details as to how Holmesdale’s members can vote on the merger proposal, will be sent to Holmesdale’s members eligible to vote, in June 2018. Skipton has received consent from the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) to approve the proposed merger by Board resolution.
About Skipton Building Society
Skipton, which has its head office based in Skipton, North Yorkshire, is the UK’s fourth largest society with over 919,000 customers, 87 branches and total assets of £21bn as at 31 December 2017.
Frequently Asked Questions
• Why is the Holmesdale merging with Skipton?
Your Board has undertaken a fundamental review of the current commercial and financial position and explored future strategic options available to the Society. Whilst the Society is presently financially secure, without the proposed merger we believe that we would not be able to continue to provide the same range of products or good value pricing for our members. Your Board has concluded unanimously that members’ best interests are served by merging now with another building society which wants to continue to provide a branch in Reigate and which is committed to remaining a mutual building society, and one which has the scale, expertise and financial strength to offer the full range of products and services into the future.
• What do I need to do?
You do not need to take any action at this stage. There will be no change to the branch operation or service to members. Full details of the merger will be sent in June 2018 to members entitled to vote on the proposed merger at the AGM.
• I have accounts with both the Holmesdale and Skipton – will I still be protected?
You do not need to take any action at this stage. Individuals who have share or deposit accounts with the Holmesdale, which become share or deposit accounts with Skipton on the date of the merger, will continue to enjoy the protection of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (‘FSCS’).
Individual savers who have accounts with both the Holmesdale and Skipton, and who exceed the FSCS limit as a result of the merger, will be able to reduce their combined balance to that limit without notice or any loss of interest on the amount withdrawn. This will apply for a limited period following the merger taking effect and Skipton will endeavour to write to all those savers affected with details of the proposal at the appropriate time and as to what action needs to be taken.
Further information will be provided in the merger pack being sent to Members.
• Will rates on savings or borrowing products be affected?
Savings and borrowing rates for members of the Holmesdale are expected to improve or remain unchanged, but will not worsen as a result of the merger. Following the proposed merger, Holmesdale owner occupied residential borrowers paying the Society’s current Standard Variable Rate (SVR) of 4.99% should benefit from moving to Skipton’s prevailing Mortgage Variable Rate (MVR) of 4.74%, if they pay by direct debit. There is no guarantee of what the Holmesdale SVR and the Skipton MVR will be up to the date of merger or what the MVR of the Skipton will be after the merger.
• Will there be a bonus paid to members on completion of the merger?
No. In order to maintain the financial strength of the enlarged Society there will be no bonus payment to members on the merger taking effect.
• When will the merger become effective?
Subject to Holmesdale members voting in favour of the merger at the AGM and confirmation by the PRA, the merger is expected to become effective on 1 October 2018.
• I like Holmesdale the way it is; why should I vote for the merger?
Your Board believes it is probable that the Holmesdale’s financial position and attractiveness will weaken over time if we continue. A delay would, in your Board’s view, result in the Society being less able to find a suitable merger partner in the future and one that is committed to keeping a branch serving the local community in Reigate.
• I am a borrower and a saver – will I be entitled to vote twice?
Yes. If you are both an eligible borrowing member and shareholding member you are entitled to a vote on both the savers’ (shareholding members’) and borrowing members’ resolutions. You will receive two AGM voting packs and should complete both voting forms and return them in the prepaid envelope provided.
Please note that you may not receive both packs on the same day.
• Will the enlarged society remain mutual?
Yes. The Board of Skipton has confirmed to the Board of the Holmesdale that it intends to remain as an independent mutual, as that best serves the interests of current and future members.
• What will happen to Holmesdale’s staff?
There will be no compulsory redundancies of Holmesdale designated branch staff as a direct result of the merger. The head office and administrative functions of the Holmesdale will move to Skipton’s head office and employees of the Holmesdale who undertake administrative and head office functions will be included in a redundancy process.
• What will happen to the Directors of the Holmesdale?
On the effective date of the merger all the Directors and Officers of Holmesdale will relinquish their positions as Directors and Officers of Holmesdale without compensation for loss of office or otherwise (other than, in the case of Executive Directors and Officers who are also employees, any compensation on being made redundant, in line with their contractual and statutory entitlement).
No Director of the Holmesdale will be joining Skipton’s board.
• Will the Directors of the Holmesdale be compensated when the merger happens?
No Non-executive Director will receive any compensation or redundancy payment as a result of the proposed merger.
Any payments to executive Directors or Officers who are also employees who are made redundant will be in accordance with their contractual and statutory entitlement.
Details of any contractual or statutory payments to executive Directors or Officers will be disclosed in the Merger booklet to be sent in June 2018 to Holmesdale’s members entitled to vote on the merger at the AGM meeting on 25 July 2018.
• Will the Skipton keep the Holmesdale branch?
The current plan of Skipton is to maintain a long term presence in Reigate, and Skipton have guaranteed to keep the Reigate branch open for at least 2 years. Thereafter, the branch will be subject to Skipton’s usual process of continually reviewing the performance of individual branches to assess their on going sustainability. In 2010, the Skipton merged with the Chesham Building Society and gave a similar commitment about that society’s three branches. Those branches have remained opened since then, without relocation.
• Will the Holmesdale change its name to the Skipton?
Subject to the Holmesdale members voting in favour of the merger at the AGM and the confirmation by the PRA, the Holmesdale will become part of the Skipton on the 1st October 2018 and the continuing building society will be the Skipton.