Nationwide’s bid for Virgin Money shows mutuals can have ambition beyond organic growth

15 April 2024 | News

Nationwide Building Society’s bid for Virgin Money represents a step change for UK mutuals.

This is a new, muscular mutuality in action, which is only made possible by the successful stewardship of the building society by its board. The bid for Virgin Money shows that mutuals can have ambition beyond organic growth.

Unlike many corporate acquisitions, the rationale is not simply to drive business synergies but rather to create a platform for new growth, wider services and greater choice for customers.

Nationwide will expand its banking service offer beyond individual consumers for the first time. The Society will grow its business by absorbing the Virgin Money savings and loans books and excitingly, incorporating the well established Virgin Money business banking arm.

Internationally, co-operatives and mutuals are significant providers of business banking, contributing a 30% market share across EU states. Their importance to SME funding is well understood in those countries, embedding them further into local economies. UK entrepreneurs will be able to choose to bank with a business committed to the interests of its customers.

As the Labour Opposition commits to see a doubling the size of the co-operative and mutual sector, it is this kind of growth that will deliver real results. Government will be able to set the business environment, but mutuals must step up to take advantage of new opportunities.